Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women

 

If men and women are equal, why have males been the dominant sex virtually throughout history? Here, geneticist Moir and BBC- TV writer-producer Jessel argue convincingly that the answer lies in the difference between the male and female brain. Writing with clarity and style, and documenting their data every step of the way, Moir and Jessel explain how the embryonic brain is shaped as either male or female at about six weeks, when the male fetus begins producing hormones that organize its brain’s neural networks into a male pattern; in their absence, the brain will be female. Not surprisingly, there are endless variations in degree of maleness, and mishaps can lead to a male brain in a female body and vice versa. Moir and Jessel include a brain sex test that lets the reader discover just how masculine or feminine his (or her) brain is. For the nonscientist, they translate considerable research into the structural and organizational differences between male and female brains, demonstrating how these differences make men more aggressive and competitive and better at skills that require spatial ability and mathematical reasoning, and women more sensitive to nuances of expression and gesture, more adept at judging character. Women, it seems, are more people-oriented than men, who are more interested in things. Moir and Jessel assert that it is necessary to “accept who we are before arguing about what we should be,” and that denying gender differences means ignoring their value. A literate, entertaining, and, for some, surely wrath- provoking presentation of scientific data about the differences between the sexes.

Bad Men (Guantanamo bay and the secret prisons)

Clive Stafford Smith is the 46-year-old human-rights lawyer who has famously – some would say notoriously – spent more than twenty years in the United States representing prisoners on Death Row. His clients include many detainees in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and he established the London-based charity Reprieve, developed to defending human rights in 1999. His book is quite simply, devastating, and many will laugh and cry reading it: laugh in disbelief, and cry in despair at the utter inhumanity and lack of imagination wrapped up in hypocrisy so enormous that it beggars understanding. Yet even in the face of insurmountable odds, Clive Stafford Smith remains an optimist. Few could maintain his capacity for work and his commitment to his clients if he allowed frustration or despair to divert him. His experiences, graphically recounted in this book, have enabled him to shine a bright, unblinking light into the darkest corners of illegality that are being justified by governments in the name of the War on Terror.