President Jimmy Carterís A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power is a non-fiction book about the mistreatment of women and girls across the globe, and, as it says in the title, a call to action to change things. He covers a broad range of topics from child marriage to female genital cutting to femicide, examining cultures from developed and developing nations alike. I loved that his book was packed with information and up-to-date (although in a few years it will be dated).
President Carter seemed particularly interested in examining how people misinterpret religious texts and use that to their advantage to gain power over women. Coming from a religious background myself, I found his insights to be interesting and thoughtful, but perhaps not everyone would be interested in this aspect of the book. I do think, however, it is important to understand how some cultures may be justifying their actions, even if religion really isnít your thing.
The writing itself was a little dry and at times, admittedly, boring. I tend to be a fast reader but I think this is the type of book that needs to be read slowly and thoughtfully over a week or two (instead of two days, like I did), so one can really absorb the information. As I said earlier, it is PACKED with information and itís difficult to let it all sink in in a matter of a few days.
If you happen to know or study a lot about human rights and womenís rights, a lot of this book may be review material for you. I found that I knew about almost every subject President Carter discussed. There were a few new nuggets of knowledge here and there, but for the most part, I felt like I had heard it all before. In a way, this was good for me, because it was nice to remind myself of this important subjects that I had learned about before. But it was also a little disappointing, because I had hoped that this book would impress me with a lot of new ideas and information.
I want to take a paragraph to mention things that might bother people about this book. As I mentioned before, there is discussion about religion in the book. President Carter himself is a Christian. I donít know if that might bother anyone, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, as his religion probably influenced his writing. The text is also left-leaning; not in a very in-your-face way, but the writing is definitely colored by the authorís political beliefs. I didnít feel that the descriptions of the various topics covered (FGC, child marriages, womenís health, etc.) were too graphic, but some people may be bothered by the material itself just because itís upsetting in general.
Overall, I liked the book. Thereís so much excellent information in the book that every human rights/womenís rights activist should know about, and I would highly recommend it to people who are interested in or passionate about human rights or womenís rights.
Note: I wrote this review using a book I borrowed from my local library.
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