Find a Way, by Diana Nyad

Labor Day, September 2, 2013 110.86 miles. Fifty-two hours, fifty-four minutes, eighteen seconds.   A woman swimming in a bathing suit (not a wetsuit) in cold ocean water, surrounded by lethal jellyfish and worrying about sharks. Fighting the resistance of the Gulf Stream. Not stopping to take a nap. Finally hearing her best friend’s voice announce: “Those are the Lights of Key West.” Walking out of the water surrounded by a phalanx of friends and crew, because if anyone—even a well-meaning, eager fan—touches her before she exits the water completely, the swim doesn’t count. Such was Diana Nyad’s epic swim Read More …

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, by Jonathan Eig

I recommend The Birth of the Pill for your summer reading list. This story of the scientific development of the birth control pill from 1950 to 1960 is engagingly written and easy to read. It is also an important history to remember as women continue to fight for their reproductive freedom while religious groups drag their implacable opposition to contraception through the courts. As the subtitle suggests, author Jonathan Eig tells the story of four crazy characters who worked together to develop the pill. Each had life experiences that, by keeping him or her out of the mainstream, facilitated an Read More …

Book of the Week: Franklin E. Zimring & David S. Tanenhaus, Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice

We created this book because it is a hopeful but complicated moment for American juvenile justice. Let’s begin with the good news. While the juvenile court, which was invented in Illinois in 1899, is the youngest of the major institutions of Anglo-American law, it has also become the most popular. There are juvenile courts in all 50 American states and in almost all the nations of the modern world. There’s also good constitutional news to report. Since Roper v. Simmons (2005) abolished the juvenile death penalty, children’s advocates have been on a winning streak before the Supreme Court. Cases, such Read More …

Book of the Week: Professor Marci Hamilton, God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty

How do you talk about the unspeakable? A decade ago, it was taboo to criticize religion or religious believers in print. They were a benign presence in America right next to apple pie.   I wrote God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law then to defeat this taboo, because it was masking a reality most Americans would want to know. There I stacked up transgressions of religious actors, including the sexual abuse and medical neglect (to death) of children, the forced marriage of adolescents into polygamous marriages, the violence of white supremacist or radical jihadist prison gangs, and even the Read More …

Book of the Week: Professor Marci Hamilton, God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty

How do you talk about the unspeakable? A decade ago, it was taboo to criticize religion or religious believers in print. They were a benign presence in America right next to apple pie.   I wrote God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law then to defeat this taboo, because it was masking a reality most Americans would want to know. There I stacked up transgressions of religious actors, including the sexual abuse and medical neglect (to death) of children, the forced marriage of adolescents into polygamous marriages, the violence of white supremacist or radical jihadist prison gangs, and even the Read More …