Books Society, Politics & Philosophy The Mark Of Circumcision

The Mark Of Circumcision.pdf

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Read online or download a free book: The Mark Of Circumcision

Pages: 272

Language: English

Publisher: Basic Books (20 Mar. 2000)

By: David L. Gollaher(Author)

Book format: pdf doc docx mobi djvu epub ibooks (*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.)

The strange history of surgerys oldest enigma and most persistent ritual. . From the extraordinarily painful initiation rite of the ancient Egyptians, through the Hebrew purification ritual, through its use by nineteenth-century doctors as prevention for ailments including bedwetting, paralysis, and epilepsy, circumcision has had a long and varied history. Perhaps the greatest mystery, however, is its persistence over time through vastly different social contexts. Historian of medicine David Gollaher takes a comprehensive look at the practice in this lively, scholarly history. Circumcision also addresses the growing controversy over the procedures continuance, and those opposing routine circumcisionwill find support here. Gollaher concludes that if male circumcision were confined to developing nations, it would by now have emerged as an international cause clbre.

"A fascinating and comprehensive history....Informative, highly readable, and completely painless." Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Read online or download a free book: The Mark Of Circumcision.pdf

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  • By Guest on 26 April 2017

    A well researched and written history of what is now seen as 'male genital mutilation' with the last chapter being a brief history and description of 'female circumcision' – thankfully no attempt is made to compare.Gollaher dispells many of the 'tales' and 'beliefs' (still often used as reasons for circumcision) by presenting the facts and allowing the reader to come to their own conclusion.A very helpful publication for anyone wishing to understand the reasons why this out-dated practice is still rife in mainly Muslim countries and unbelievably in the USA!

  • By N. Sutherland on 25 June 2007

    I recommend this book be read by everyone. Why? Because I think it's about time we all woke up to the blatant disregard for basic human rights that is still being allowed to continue (the right to an intact and fully functioning body) and came to see neonatal circumcision for what it really is. This book is an excellent aid in doing so, for 2 reasons:Firstly, it is written in a professional, factual and unbiased manner. This is helpful because it allows the raw facts of the material in the book to speak for its self, without being muddied or over dramatised by the author's personal opinions. I commend Dr Gollaher for writing it this way, as there are numerous places where he could have added all kinds of biased commentary and personal judgments, but doesn't. Like I said, the material speaks for its self.Secondly, it deals with an aspect of circumcision that may at first seem irrelevant to people in today's world, but is in fact very revealing and enlightening. Namely, the long journey of circumcision from a symbolic wound of class distinction practised by the Egyptians over four thousand years ago, through to the operating tables of today. How did what was once seen as a senseless and barbaric act of mutilation against infant males particular to certain religions and tribes, come to be accepted as normal and justifiable in the modern world? Indeed, as made clear in the book, the biggest mystery off all in regards to circumcision, is not how or when it came about, but why it has persisted so long through whole plethora of vastly differing, often inexplicable or even self contradicting ethnic/religious and social/cultural and justifications.If this makes the book sound irrelevant or unhelpful for parents looking for a sound medical/scientific basis for or against having their boys cut, then it shouldn't.The author has devoted time to that side of the argument too, taking us from what was in the 1870s seemingly a medical breakthrough, claimed to "cure" an extensive list of illnesses from paralysis and epilepsy to general nervousness, masturbation, idiocy and bed wetting... to name but a few, to the more recent scientific studies on weather circumcision protects men from STIs, STDs, cancer and UTIs. The details given are slightly vague, but the conclusion is this: Despite the American medical professions repeated attempts to find definitive scientific evidence to support routine neonatal circumcision, even now, none seems to exist. Truth is, many of the studies that found circumcision may reduce a mans chances of contracting STIs, STDs, UTIs or penile cancer, were fundamentally flawed in their methods (or perhaps deliberately skewed, in an attempt to make the outcomes support their own personal views), and so could not be considered accurate. Some of the more comprehensive and less biased studies showed results that did support those findings, but the advantages were so small as to be clinically insignificant, while others found the reverse was true, indicating that circumcision actually increases the risk of certain STIs and STDs, while the death rates and potentially horrifying complications resulting from circumcision more than wipe out any potential advantage it may have offered.Of course none of the many attempts at medical justification even consider what is physically lost due to circumcision, or the long-term neurological and psychological damage it can cause, points which are also touched upon, if only briefly, by the book. Then there's the question of ethics and human rights. One of the many quotes in the book sums it up perfectly: "It cannot be ethical for a doctor to amputate normal tissue from a normal child" (John P. warren 1996). Even if it were the case that circumcision significantly reduced the risk of STIs, STDs and cancer, (which it doesn't, and all of which can be easily avoided by leading a healthy and responsible lifestyle) does that automatically it right to just cut that part of the body off, especially without the owner's consent? If so, should we start cutting out all girls breast tissue prior to puberty to reduce her risk of getting breast cancer? Of course not! So why is it still considered acceptable to cut off an extremely sensitive and functionally essential part of an unconsenting infant boy's genitals? It would appear it isn't, as non-essential removal of ANY OTHER body part, without the owners consent is quit rightly illegal. Given that by law, one must be 18 before they can get themselves a tattoo (a SEMI-permanent COSMETIC procedure) I can't quite fathom why it doesn't cause MORE controversy and isn't illegal yet, like female circumcision (FGM) is (thankfully! That was also purported to be medically beneficial once!!).The only minor criticisms of the book is that it is unnecessarily wordy and long winded at times, the kind of book you have to "wade" or "digest" your way through, preferably with a good dictionary to hand!On the plus side, it is well researched, well balanced and objective.Truth be told, if you are looking for scientific, medical, physical and social info on circumcision, then you are probably better off with a different book, such as: What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Circumcision. It`s far more detailed scientifically, anatomically, medically, and is full of other useful info and resources for people of today. Yes, it's gory, shocking, disturbing, outrageous and at times infuriating to read (the facts, not the book), but this is a gory shocking, disturbing and outrageous subject, and it's infuriating that it still being allowed to continue unchallenged. But that's the reality, so be prepared for it! For historical, cultural and social understanding though, this is a great read. Intriguing, revealing, and at time exasperating and rather disturbing.Highly recommended.

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