Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 20, Number 21
Featured Reviews
American Girls by Nancy Jo SalesAmerican Girls
by Nancy Jo Sales
Tue, Mar 15th 2016
 Psychiatry Under the Influence by Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove Psychiatry Under the Influence
by Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove
Tue, Mar 8th 2016
The Sober Truth by Lance Dodes and Zachary DodesThe Sober Truth
by Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes
Tue, Mar 1st 2016
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health
A Complete Guide to the Food-Mood Connection
By Leslie Korn
Review by Lynne Trevisan, D. C. on Tue, May 24th 2016.
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health by Leslie KornThe author of this book begins by discussing how the standard American diet (SAD, as identified in the book) leads to inflammation, which leads to changes in how the nervous system functions, which leads to changes in mood and mental health.  Korn takes the time to identify the process in professional language.  She also provides sample language of how she explains the concepts to her patients in a manner that is easy to grasp and is relatable to regular events that commonly occur in a person’s life.  She ties together how inflammation changes a person’s mood and ide
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On the Government of the Living
Lectures at the Collège de France, 1979-1980
By Michel Foucault
Review by Jordan Liz on Tue, May 24th 2016.
On the Government of the Living by Michel FoucaultIn On the Government of the Living, Foucault seeks to analyze how a particular kind of subjectivity emerged during Christianity in Western societies -- one that not only required subjects to obey, but to tell the truth of themselves. As Foucault puts it, he seeks to answer the question: "how is it that, in our type of society, power cannot be exercised without truth having to manifest itself, and manifest itself in the form of subjectivity, and without, on the other hand, an expectation of effects of this manifestation of the truth in the form of subjectivity that go beyond the realm of knowle
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The Pornography Industry
What Everyone Needs to Know
By Shira Tarrant
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 24th 2016.
The Pornography Industry by Shira TarrantTarrant's primer on porn, The Pornography Industry, addresses some basic and some more complex issues. It's a fairly short book with 10 chapters in about 180 pages, and then notes and suggested readings. The tone is lively and non-judgmental. Tarrant sets out both factual information and also opinions about pornography, and includes her own perspective. She is quick to dispel many myths or widely spread false claims about porn, and works at showing some of the complexities. She does not a strong stance either for or against porn, but she does seem broadly in favor of toleration of the porn ind
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The Memory of Light
By Francisco X. Stork
Review by Brett Karlan on Tue, May 24th 2016.
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork Young adult fiction is often at its best when it offers us a window into the psychological perspective of a particular character. Novels in this genre are often exclusively first-personal, and they aim to offer us a fascinating way of reaching inside the developing mental life of the teenage protagonist. They help us figure out what makes these characters tick and how they learn to inhabit the worlds (whether fantastical or mundane) that they find themselves in. The Memory of Light, a new young adult novel by Francisco Stork, adds a fascinating twist to this genre convention: the&
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The Guise of Another
By Allen Eskens
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 24th 2016.
The Guise of Another by Allen EskensThe Guise of Another is an unpleasant story that nevertheless keeps the reader's attention. It is full of gratuitous violence and some sex. The main character is Alexander Rupert, a Minnesota detective who has done some bad choices in his job and is in a deteriorating marriage.  He is given a case of a man killed in a car accident who turns out to have a fake identity. Alexander looks into the case and finds layers upon layers of deception. He is good at his job, but he turns out to be up against a dangerous Serbian hit man who was hardened as a teenager when caught in war. Many of the ch
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Lab Girl
By Hope Jahren
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 17th 2016.
Lab Girl by Hope JahrenHope Jahren reads her own book in the unabridged audiobook, and she makes a strong impression.  She is clearly passionate about her work and, like most academic scientists, very dedicated to the importance of understanding the world. Her specialization is in plant biology and she is especially interested in trees. She tells the listener in a very personal way about her life as a scientist and her friendship with her co-worker Bill, who she met as a graduate student and employed in her lab since she had her first university position. She writes about her own research and how she has been h
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A Natural History of Human Morality
By Michael Tomasello
Review by Michael Klenk on Tue, May 17th 2016.
A Natural History of Human Morality by Michael TomaselloIt is hard to explain how human morality has evolved. Explanations regarding evolutionary self-interest seem to explain away the phenomenon, rather than illuminating it. But without showing how behaving morally helped our ancestors to have more or better offspring, a strictly evolutionary explanation will not succeed. Typically, those that try to illuminate the evolutionary origins of morality focus on either reciprocal altruism (roughly, I lose now, but I'll gain later) or inclusive fitness (roughly, I seem to lose but some of my kin gains, so I gain), but both approaches
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What's Wrong With Morality?
A Social-Psychological Perspective
By C. Daniel Batson
Review by Kyle Furlane on Tue, May 17th 2016.
What's Wrong With Morality? by C. Daniel BatsonIn his new book, social psychologist C. Daniel Batson asks the question "What's wrong with morality?"  His answer: quite a bit!  Batson, who has done important empirical work on empathy and altruism, turns his gaze to moral psychology more generally.  The result is an illuminating, if somewhat depressing, examination of human attempts to be moral.  By looking at decades of social psychology (including much of his own work), as well as examples from history and literature,  he makes the case that people, by and large, lack "moral integrity" and act against their purport
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A Monster Calls
Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
By Patrick Ness
Review by Catia Cunha on Tue, May 17th 2016.
A Monster Calls by Patrick NessConor and his mother live in a cozy house before a church with a graveyard and a yew tree. He's been having the same nightmare repeatedly: powerless, hands slipping from his grasp, a heaviness. When he wakes in the middle of the night to a strange voice calling his name, it is not the monster of his nightmare, but another walking in the form of the yew tree. The monster says Conor called him, but he has no recollection of doing any such thing. Conor will listen to three stories from the monster and then he will have to tell a story of his own. His truth. The one thing Conor is the most terrifi
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Fine Lines
Vladimir Nabokov’s Scientific Art
By Stephen H Blackwell and Kurt Johnson (Editors)
Review by Bob Lane, MA on Tue, May 17th 2016.
Fine Lines by Stephen H Blackwell and Kurt Johnson (Editors) A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?     I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler qu
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Adolescence and Body Image
From Development to Preventing Dissatisfaction
By Lina A Ricciardelli and Zali Yager
Review by Hennie Weiss on Tue, May 10th 2016.
Adolescence and Body Image by Lina A Ricciardelli and Zali YagerAdolescence and Body Image: From Development to Preventing Dissatisfaction by Lina A. Riccardelli and Zali Yager discusses how adolescence body image is impacted and shaped by many various factors, such as peers, culture, sports and media. The book draws on research across the globe to discuss how adolescence tends to view their bodies, and how their body image is impacted. The book is an interesting read and the authors have been able to summarize data, findings and discussions into easy-to-understand facts, which makes the book ideal for the classroom, from high school to college. The info
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Not So Abnormal Psychology
A Pragmatic View of Mental Illness
By Ronald B. Miller
Review by Maura Pilotti, Ph.D. on Tue, May 10th 2016.
Not So Abnormal Psychology by Ronald B. MillerIn Not so abnormal psychology: A pragmatic view of mental illness, Ronald B. Miller offers a critical review of the field of abnormal psychology (a domain of knowledge that is also commonly referred to as psychopathology, psychiatric or mental disorders, mental illness, and problems in living). The author praises eclecticism in clinical practice. He argues that the field has been unfairly dominated by clinical scientists who have emphasized application of the scientific method to clinical endeavors. As a result, the field has underscored cognitive and cognitive-behavioral approaches, which len
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The Brain's Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior
By Eliezer Sternberg
Review by Sachin Sarin on Tue, May 10th 2016.
NeuroLogic by Eliezer Sternberg NeuroLogic: The Brain's Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior is a foray into the world of neuroscience directed towards the layperson. Dr. Eliezer J. Strenberg, a resident neurologist at Yale, allows his own curiosity to guide readers through an explanation of how the brain works using a series of different anecdotes, analogies and research studies. He argues that the brain's unconscious system processes a wide array of information in order to present a narrative to the individual's conscious system which results in his/her human experience. When information is missing, altered or
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When Breath Becomes Air
By Paul Kalanithi
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 10th 2016.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiKalanithi's memoir of his career as a student of literature and philosophy and as a neuroscientist neurosurgeon has gained a lot of attention. Just when he is on the verge of professional success when he gets a diagnosis of cancer.  He and his wife plan what to do --  they had planned to have a family, but will they have time to do that now?  Kalanithi reflects on his experience in his undergraduate and graduate days, and his decision to switch from a theoretical approach to a medical approach. We hear about his experience treating patients and getting more used to seeing death.
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How to Grow Old
Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life
By Marcus Tullius Cicero
Review by Bob Lane, M.A. on Tue, May 10th 2016.
How to Grow Old by Marcus Tullius CiceroFirst, this is a beautiful little book. It looks serious but accessible, important but human sized. Second, Freeman presents the reader with Cicero's "ancient wisdom for the second half of life" in a new and excellent translation with the original facing the English translation. In a way, I suppose, this is the ultimate "self-help" book, since each of us must and will face our own personal death some day and in some way. The introduction tells us of the time (45 BCE) when Cicero, the famous Roman orator and statesman, was alone and growing old. He had lost his daughter to an early death, and
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