I want to give baron the benefit of the doubt and say that my impoverished understanding of economics stunted my appreciation for this work. That may...moreI want to give baron the benefit of the doubt and say that my impoverished understanding of economics stunted my appreciation for this work. That may be so. But I do not have an impoverished understanding of either theoretical or applied bioethics. And my knowledge and his ideas rarely crossed. I was frustrated by his overly academic attitude towards situations that arise in the world outside of the ivory tower -- decisions made at the bedside or operating room, or at a higher level, decisions that yield admittedly incoherent public policy on healthcare and biomedical research. As a lawyer who practices applied bioethics, I was frustrated by his dismissal (or, worse, incorrect restatements) of the federal and state laws and regulations governing the topics he discusses. Perhaps this book would be a better match for an economist interested in these issues -- I'd be interested to know how the book was received in that circle. (less)
I really loved this short collection of stories, each of which is an empowering snapshot into a handful of turn of the century women's lives made bett...moreI really loved this short collection of stories, each of which is an empowering snapshot into a handful of turn of the century women's lives made better through effort, creativity, and finally independence.
As I read these stories, I couldn't help but feel something akin to 'guilty pleasure' -- which, upon reflection, is absolutely horrifying. Why should reading stories about women succeeding together and alone, and always despite oppression, feel like such a rare treat? Surely it's a common literary arc, the character who defies and defeats circumstance? Surely we're used to this -- except, when the hero is a hero, we call it "literature"; when the hero is a heroine, we call it "feminist literature." Why are such stories relegated to "genre"? Why is this book only in print by Dover, available only at my local anarchist bookstore?
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a real punk rock hero in her way. She left high school to study at RISD (in 1878!); divorced her first husband (in 1894!!); and eventually took her own life rather than suffer through incurable cancer. A lifelong social activist and radical thinker, she wrote on topics including sexual politics, sexual economics, gender equality and euthanasia. As with The Man Who Was Thursday, this collection should also be a staple of political philosophy classes; it too delivers an internally consistent philsophical framework through the vehicle of what is and remains, for better or worse, a set of fantasy stories.(less)
I was a little bit tricked into reading this book by the awesome premise that it included a hot-air balloon chase. In fact, said chase graced only the...moreI was a little bit tricked into reading this book by the awesome premise that it included a hot-air balloon chase. In fact, said chase graced only the last few pages of the book. And truth be told, it wasn't a "chase" so much as a group of bedraggled detectives wandering apishly through the fields of southern England in slow pursuit of the slow-moving balloon overhead.
That said, I liked this book. It is a fantastical and whimsical parable from 1908 about god and anarchism; lawlessness and order, and the lawlessness of laws, and the order of lawlessness. In a sentence, the book revolves around the strange misadventures of a London detective who infiltrates the high European Council of Anarchists (such council consisting of seven men, each named for a day of the week), only to discover a thing or two about "anarchism" and the great society that makes "detectives" in the first place. If it's not already, this book should be a staple of political philosophy classes -- it packages the sometimes tired arguments for and against a greater order (socially and perhaps spiritually) in a charming tall-tale set against the grey chimneystacks of old-timey Londontown. (less)