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Book and Film Reviews

Environmental Health

Recent Books and Films of interest

Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions by Joseph J. Romm (Island Press, 2010)

“Romm cuts through the misinformation and presents the truth about humanity’s most dire threat. His analysis is based on sophisticated knowledge of renewable technologies, climate impacts, and government policy, written in a style everyone can understand. Romm shows how a 20 percent reduction in global emissions over the next quarter century could improve the economy; how we can replace most coal and with what technologies.” – Island Press

Tapped, a documentary by director Stephanie Soechtig (2009)

By the same producers that brought Who Killed the Electric Car this documentary takes a look at the bottled water industry and its effects on health, climate change and the environment.

To learn more visit:

Board Member Reviewed Books and Films

Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber (Perseus 2001, and paperback edition, Berkeley Books, 2003)

Review by Susan Katz, MD, Board Member

"This book, both science literature and personal testimony, analyzes and
explores the effects of the intrauterine environment on the developing human
fetus.  It specifically explores the effects of a variety of toxic
environmental pollutants that very likely are responsible for the increasing
numbers of infants born with problems leading to less than optimal
psychological or physical health and functioning.  Steingraber's writing has
been compared to Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, John Muir and Rachel Carson.
It is alternatively lyrical, scientifically precise, humorous and profound."

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski (Vintage, 1992)

Review by Susan Katz, MD, Board Member 

"My recommendation for a very well-written, informative and non-polemical first-hand report of 20th century Iranian history, is Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuscinski.  He is a recently deceased Polish journalist, all of whose books I am finding unique and fascinating. (I started with Travels with Herodotus, 2007.)"

A Dimly Burning Wick: Memoir from the Ruins of Hiroshima by Sadako Teiko Okuda, with Pamela Bea Wilson Vergun (Algora, 2008)

Review by Catherine Thomasson, MD, Board Member (featured in this book)

"A Dimly Burning Wick - Memoir from the ruins of Hiroshima, by Sadako Okuda, translated by Pamela Vergun, PhD,  offers a rare and powerful approach to history.  Through the diary Sadako Okuda kept during her agonizing search for her niece and nephew immediately after the bombing of Hiroshima, we can glimpse the terror that inspires the nuclear abolition movement, and also the hope that is woven into her story through the compassion and love shown by the wounded children she finds amid the ruins.  The supporting chapters offer readers the overarching historical context and continuing relevance, including an eloquent discussion of nuclear abolition now supported by many policy leaders.  This book will open the eyes of those who do not understand the role nuclear abolition plays in world peace."

War, Inc., a film by director John Cusack (2008)

Review by Margie Kircher, OT, Board Member

"War, Inc., is the new John Cusack film.  It is a great parody of Blackwater and the Iraq War.  As a dark futuristic comedy, it gets at the truth and motivation for the war in a way that will reach many people who wouldn't otherwise listen."

To find copies of these books and films, we recommend your local library or Powell's online.

For profiles of our members and staff, please go to our board page.


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