Margaret Sanger -- A Life of Passion by Jean H. Baker, Hill and Wang '11, $35, 349 pages, ASIN #0809094983. Index, no bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w images.
Sometimes a few years of practical experience can be more valuable to a young person than five doctorates. So it was with Margaret Sanger. "Trained as a nurse and midwife in the gritty tenements of New York's Lower East Side," writes historian Jean H. Baker, "Sanger grew increasingly aware of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy -- both physical and psychological. 'I resolved that women should have the knowledge of contraception,'" Sanger said after watching a patient, Sadie Sachs, die of a botched abortion after asking for information about contraception in 1912. Sanger decided to devote her life to making contraception legal, cheap and effective. Shortly thereafter, she invented the term "birth control," opened her first clinic, and ultimately founded Planned Parenthood. Jean H. Baker has written numerous books on American history and teaches history at Goucher College in Baltimore.
Ben-Gurion -- A Political Life by Shimon Peres in conversation with David Landau, Schocken '11, $25.95, 224 pages, ASIN #0805242821. Chronology, note on sources, appendix, grouping of b&w glossy images.
Author Shimon Peres writes of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father and first prime minister, as "a figure of stirring contradictions -- a prophetic visionary and a canny pragmatist who early grasped the necessity of compromise for national survival." Such a political attitude is striking and instructive today with Israelis and Palestinians deadlocked, seemingly uncompromisingly, over their people's future. Peres writes that "Ben-Gurion supported the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, even though it meant surrendering a two thousand-year-old dream of Jewish settlement for the entire land of Israel." Peres, president of the State of Israel since 2007, sees in Ben-Gurion "a neglected model of leadership that Israel and the world desperately need in the twenty-first century." Shimon Peres has been a key leader of Israel since 1948, when he became head of the nation's naval services. An architect of the Oslo Accords, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.