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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It - Craig Timberg, Daniel Halperin I found this a useful summary of recent advances in our understanding of HIV, its origins, and its prevention. I read it after Epstein's The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS, which covers some of the same points. Together they provide a good update or review. Add Dow and Essex's Saturday Is for Funerals and you've got a pretty good seminar reading list. I read Tinderbox because I was on my way to sub-Saharan Africa for an HIV seminar and I wanted to be sure my knowledge was up to date. Of as much interest as the book were the significant number of vituperative reviews on Amazon. I can't comment on those that accused Timberg and Halperin of writing a worse book than Pepin's The Origins of AIDS, since I haven't yet read it. A few reviewers assert that only condoms prevent AIDS. I will merely say that this simply isn't true and move on. The troubling reviews go like this: Halperin is falsely representing male circumcision as an effective HIV prevention technique because he is Jewish and has the agenda of somehow Judaizing Africa. Some of these reviews are quite anti-Semitic. As I say, I was in sub-Saharan Africa, so I thought I'd ask. Specifically, I asked several experts, ranging from government health representatives to heads of medical centers treating HIV. Here's a typical conversation:Me: "A new book in the US supports male circumcision, saying that it decreases HIV acquisition by the circumcised males."Expert: "Yes, this is true. The foreskin has receptors that HIV attaches to easily, so circumcision decreases the male's likelihood of becoming HIV+."Me: "Some people in the US believe that the results of the Orange Farm study are not statistically valid. They say that the one of the authors is promoting male circumcision for religious reasons."Expert: [Puzzled frown.]Me: "They say that because he is Jewish he is trying to convert Africans to Judaism."Expert: 1) "Do they not know that Islamic men are circumcised?" or 2) "But that wouldn't make a man Jewish" or 3) "Actually, many of the groups in this region practiced adolescent circumcision prior to the introduction of Christianity" or 4) [bewildered stare].Me: "So if I were to reply to these allegations, what would you like me to say?"Expert: "We would like you to say that African medical professionals are satisfied with the results of the Orange Farm study."There you go. I'm not going to post it on Amazon, but I report it here. And I'm not going to argue about it.