issue: book reviews



Friday 11 July 2014


Saving normal in a world gone mad

One psychiatrist’s rebellion against the pathologisation of everyday life.

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Monday 9 December 2013


Review: The Book of Woe

In The Book of Woe: the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, psychoanalyst and journalist Gary Greenberg examines the history of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), revealing the “deeply flawed process by which mental disorders are invented and uninvented”.

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Friday 10 May 2013


What’s worse than bullying? Anti-bullying intervention

Emily Bazelon’s new book makes a powerful, eloquent case against too much adult meddling in children’s spats and scraps.

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Friday 17 June 2011


Animals don’t have morality, people do

In his attempt to prove that beasts have morals, Dale Peterson airbrushes away all the things that make humans unique in the animal kingdom.

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Friday 28 January 2011


The chasm that separates great apes from humans

Jon Cohen’s new book reminds us that, for all the claims that apes and human beings are ‘98.5 per cent the same’ in terms of genetics, there is still an unfathomable gap between us.

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Friday 26 June 2009


Restating the case for human uniqueness

A brilliant new book cuts through all the media-oriented research about ‘clever chimps’ using tools, doing maths and feeling human emotions, and reminds us that, in truth, there is nothing remotely human about primates.

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Friday 24 April 2009


It’s time to move beyond the nature/nurture divide

In advising parents to ignore hectoring experts, Judith Rich Harris’s book still packs a punch 10 years on. But its use of evolutionary theory and social psychology to explain how people are ‘shaped’ leaves much to be desired.

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Thursday 19 March 2009


Chimps are like humans? Stop monkeying around

This week it was revealed that chimps use sticks to smash open beehives. But there’s nothing remotely ‘human-like’ in such behaviour.

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Monday 2 February 2009


The mother of all interventions

We should roundly reject the new UK report which argues that time-stretched parents are producing damaged children.

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Monday 29 December 2008


‘Autistic children are now seen as a burden’

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, author of Defeating Autism, talks to Helene Guldberg about how raising a child with autism can be made infinitely harder – emotionally, financially and practically – by the charlatanic ‘war on autism’.

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Friday 18 January 2008


Humanity, thou art sick

Shyness is now ‘social phobia’, and dissent is ‘Oppositional Defiant Disorder’. How did everyday emotions come to be seen as illnesses?

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Wednesday 14 November 2007


A playground tumble can do you good

More experts recognise that a scraped knee can be a positive experience for a child. Let’s hope they now relax about other ‘dangers’ in kids’ lives.

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Friday 24 August 2007


A childish panic about the next generation

Many of those fretting over the state of contemporary childhood, concerned that kids are passive, cooped up and sedentary, are motivated by naked nostalgia - sometimes even by snobbery.

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Thursday 28 December 2006


A hard cell

Eve Herold on why we should take sides in the Stem Cell Wars, and cheer those scientists pushing the boundaries.

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Friday 20 October 2006


'There's no such thing as "stress"'

Angela Patmore has been branded a ‘heartless bitch’ for her attack on the stress management industry. Calm down and get a life, she tells her critics.

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Thursday 3 November 2005


Man is more than a beast

The primatologist Frans de Waal says we should get in touch with ‘our inner ape’. Speak for yourself.

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Friday 29 July 2005


Singer on 'speciesism': a specious argument

In his new book In Defense of Animals, Peter Singer reduces the value of human life to a tick-list of capabilities.

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Monday 9 May 2005


How can we halt the 'march of unreason'?

Dick Taverne on why we need to defend the Enlightenment against dodgy science and ‘dogmatic environmentalists’.

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Friday 8 April 2005


All in the hormones?

Vivienne Parry, author of The Truth About Hormones, questions whether chemicals control our destinies.

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Friday 30 July 2004


Keep taking the tablets

Forget the scare stories, says Diarmuid Jeffreys, author of a history of aspirin – the little white pill is ‘one of the most amazing creations in medical history’.

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Friday 23 May 2003


Scaring into space

A new book by Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, gives humanity a 50/50 chance of survival.

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Thursday 11 July 2002


Positing the positive

Charles Leadbeater, author of Up the Down Escalator, talked to Helene Guldberg about the politics of pessimism.

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Wednesday 22 May 2002


'I have not jumped off the modernity boat'

Francis Fukuyama talks about History after 11 September, human exceptionalism, Ritalin and Islam.

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Thursday 24 January 2002


'This is a case of table pounding'

The ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’ Bjorn Lomborg tells Helene Guldberg how he has weathered the storm of reaction against him.

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