A baby's death

Michael Pugliese debsian at SPAMpacbell.net
Thu Dec 30 06:52:36 MST 1999

    For mass death of infants I've been told that the following is a good
read. The author also has a newer work on the realities of life for children
growing up today, which reminded me of another work, which I have actually
read parts of. I'll do a cut and paste of the three books on children from
the amazon.com site(No endorsement implied, buy the books from and
independent bookseller or even better borrow them the library, one of the
few socialist institutions here in the U.S.A. where I'm writing from,
specifically San Francisco, which has an good, not great public library
    Here are the details.

  Death Without Weeping : The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
by Nancy Scheper-Paperback Reprint edition (September 1993)
Univ California Press; ISBN: 0520075374 ; New York Times Book Review
Makes a case for ethnography as an art form. . . . A compelling, if deeply
disturbing, account of women in a Brazilian shantytown. --This text refers
to the hardcover edition of this title

>From Kirkus Reviews , April 1, 1992
A shattering portrayal of life among the impoverished inhabitants of Alto do
Cruzeiro (``Hill of the Crucifixion''), a shantytown in the city of Bom
Jesus da Mata in northeastern Brazil's Pernambuco Province. Scheper-Hughes
(Anthropology/UC at Berkeley), whose 1979 Saints, Scholars, and
Schizophrenics (not reviewed) won the Margaret Mead Award, has again
produced a work of enormous power and importance. Alto do Cruzeiro is well
named: Life in its fetid alleyways and smoke-filled...
American Anthropologist
Hauntingly beautiful. . . . [The] richly detailed qualitative analysis has
thoroughly convinced this reader, at least, of her arguments linking
maternal behavior and child death.

Reviewer: A reader from Skidmore College, NY      November 10, 1999

Nancy Scheper-Hughes' book "Death Without Weeping" is an outstanding piece
of a true anthropological approach to studying a difficult concept: Mothers
in Brazil do not mourn for dead infants. Coming from America, it seems
difficult to understand the lack of innate "Mother Love." Scheper-Hughes
looks at both the political-economic problems in Brazil as a coutry as well
as the beliefs and meanings that mothers living in a Shantytown place on
their infants (dead or alive). By looking at records, talking to officials,
and researching the history of Brazil, Nancy Scheper-Hughes is able to
understand how the state of the political and econimic system in Brazil is
partially responsible for the horrible deaths and indifferent mothers living
in these shantytowns. Alternatively she has been able to get a true
understanding of what meanings these women place on their infants death. By
looking at both sides, the way Scheper-Hughes has done, we can obtain a
better understanding of the true problem and how the people deal with it.
Although Nancy Scheper-Hughes does not offer solutions in this book, she
tells all of the clues needed to find a solution. Great Book!

Already a classic of committed scholarship.
 Reviewer: A reader from Cambridge, Mass.      January 21, 1999

"Death Without Weeping" is perhaps the most profound & moving academic work
I know from this decade, & contributes brilliantly to debates on many
important current issues. It sets an extremely high standard of in-depth
research, theoretical insight, political commitment and compassion.

    Small Wars : The Cultural Politics of Childhood
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Editor), Carolyn Sargent (EditorPaperback - 464
pages (December 1998)
University of California Press; ISBN: 0520209184
Mary E. Black, British Medical Journal
"The words blister off the page, and I have been unable to put this book
down. . . . What is a normal, happy childhood? What makes for a normal and
secure childhood despite the odds? I thought I knew the self-evident answer,
but after reading this book, I am no longer sure."
Chronicle of Higher Education
"[Most] new scholarship attends more to how children are depicted or
imagined than to how they acutally live. Small Wars: The Cultural Politics
of Childhood is one exception. . . .Due out in the fall, the book describes
how economic restructuring worldwide has generally worsened children's lives
San Francisco Bay Guardian
"The extraordinary essays in this collection will make you think and, most
likely, make you furious. . . . Small Wars is an extraordinary collection of
writing on children and their places in the world. It will make you hear the
phrase 'for the children' in a completely different way. Although the essays
are scholarly, the underlying message is a call to more than thought or
discussion; it is an urgent call to action."
Book Description
Small Wars gathers together a hard-hitting series of essays that demonstrate
how, at the close of the twentieth century, the world's children are
affected by global political-economic structures and by everyday practices
embedded in the micro-level interactions of local cultures. Perceived as
avenging spirits of aborted fetuses in Japan; as obstacles to, or desired
commodities of, narcissistic adult fulfillment in North America; as foot
soldiers cast onto the paths of drug wars in Spanish Harlem...

  And the book I have actually parts of. The author William Finnegan also
has written on Mozambique and South Africa.

  Cold New World : Growing Up in Harder Country
by William Finnegan

   (The Scapegoat Generation : America's War on Adolescents; Mike A. Males
"When I first started going to New Haven," writes William Finnegan, "I was
taken on a tour of the city's neighborhoods by two black residents. Their
conversation reminded me of others I've heard--in countries suffering from
chronic guerrilla war."

Cold New World depicts the lives of American teenagers and young adults,
struggling to hang onto what little they've got. They are part of a growing
underclass whose lives have become saturated with drugs and violence.
Whether he's talking to an African American drug dealer who plies his trade
in the shadow of Yale or a young woman caught up in the feud between two
rival skinhead gangs in the northernmost suburbs of Los Angeles, Finnegan
brings his subjects to life on the page with a compassion that doesn't
undermine any of his bluntness about their desperate conditions. You may not
like what Cold New World has to say about the state of the nation, but it's
a book that you ignore at your perilThe New York Times Book Review, Jack
Finnegan's hanging-around technique yields riches among the kind of people
that most reporters would strenuously avoid
The New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates
Cold New World is a sustained and unflinching look into the lives of young
Americans who live in poverty of varying kinds.... Its strongest passages
are written in a sharp-edged, obsessive, oneiric prose.... Part of the
appeal ... is that Finnegan can so adroitly place himself at the center of
Cold New World as its brooking, conscience-stricken, and culturally
privileged witness even as he allows his subjects the full range of their
mercurial humanity. Despite its pessimism, Cold New World is...

 The Dark Side of America

Reviewer: A reader from Neuchatel, Switzerland      November 21, 1999

Having read several of these sociological "Real World" missives, "Cold New
World" is by far the most comprehensive. Whereas works like "Code of the
Street" and "The Corner" examine a single distressed area, William
Finnegan's work is very ambitious in exploring problems in New Haven, rural
Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and Southern California.
Finnegan shows how faulty American public policy has ravaged the nation. The
book is tightly written, provides meaningful analysis, and it's scope
extends across the entire American ethnic mix.
                             Michael Pugliese

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