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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Paperback – June 1, 2010
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—Washington Post 10 Best Books of the Year
“Vitally important. . . . Heartbreaking, galvanizing, and unforgettable.”
—Publishers Weekly Top 100 Books of 2009
“This book isn't a sermon. . . . These stories are electrifying and have the effect of breaking down this enormous problem into segments the reader can focus on. Suddenly, these horrendous problems begin to seem solvable . . . Again, this book is not a sermon about victims. Its range is wide, and sometimes it's even funny . . . Half the Sky is a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue. It does so with exquisitely crafted prose and sensationally interesting material . . . I really do think this is one of the most important books I have ever reviewed.”
—Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“Passionate yet practical. . . . [Half the Sky] is both stirring and sensible . . . This wonderful book combines a denunciation of horrible abuses with clear-eyed hope and some compelling practical strategies. The courageous women described here, and millions more like them, deserve nothing less.”
—Martha Nussbaum, The New York Times
“Women facing poverty, oppression, and violence are usually viewed as victims. Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky shows that unimaginable challenges are often met with breathtaking bravery. These stories show us the power and resilience of women who would have every reason to give up but never do. They will be an inspiration for anyone who reads this book, and a model for those fighting for justice around the world. You will not want to put this book down.”
“If you have always wondered whether you can change the world, read this book. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have written a brilliant call to arms that describes one of the transcendent injustices in the world today—the brutal treatment of women. They take you to many countries, introduce you to extraordinary women, and tell you their moving tales. Throughout, the tone is practical not preachy and the book’s suggestions as to how you can make a difference are simple, sensible, and yet powerful. The authors vividly describe a terrible reality about the world we live in but they also provide light and hope that we can, in fact, change it.”
—Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World
“I think it’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading Half the Sky. It does what we need most, it bears witness to the sheer cruelty that mankind can do to mankind.”
“It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book about one of the most serious problems of our time: the worldwide abuse and exploitation of women. In addition to describing the injustices, Kristof and WuDunn show how concerned individuals everywhere are working effectively to empower women and help them overcome adversity. Wonderfully written and vividly descriptive, Half the Sky can and should galvanize support for reform on all levels. Inspiring as it is shocking, this book demands to be read.”
“Half the Sky is a passionate and persuasive plea to all of us to rise up and say ‘No more!’ to the 17th-century abuses to girls and women in the 21st-century world. This is a book that will pierce your heart and arouse your conscience. It is a powerful piece of journalism by two masters of the craft who are tireless in their pursuit of one of the most shameful conditions of our time.”
“The stories that Kristof and WuDunn share are as powerful as they are heartbreaking. Their insight into gender issues and the role of women in development inspires hope, optimism, and most importantly, the will to change. Both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action, this book should be read by all.”
“An unblinking look at one of the seminal moral challenges of our time. This stirring book is at once a savage indictment of gender inequality in the developing world and an inspiring testament to these women’s courage, resilience, and their struggle for hope and recovery. An unexpectedly uplifting read.”
—Khaled Hosseini, author, The Kite Runner
“While we rightly roared at racial apartheid, we act as though gender apartheid is a natural, immutable fact. With absolutely the right Molotov cocktail of on-the-ground reporting and hard social science, Kristof and WuDunn blow up this taboo. . . . A thrilling manifesto for advancing freedom for hundreds of millions of human beings.”
—Johann Hari, Slate.com
“The most important book of the year. . . . Half the Sky is the kind of book that could change the course of history.”
—William Petrocelli, The Huffington Post
“How many books make a significant difference in matters that concern everyone who lives on earth? Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have certainly written such a book. Half the Sky is the most important book that I have read since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962. . . . Half the Sky is a groundbreaking, eye-opening book, stunning in every sense.”
—Charles R. Larson, CounterPunch
“Urgent. . . . Passionate. . . . Compelling. . . . Half the Sky is a grab-the-reader-by-the-lapels wake-up call.”
—Bill Williams, The Boston Globe
“Superb . . . As Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring once catalyzed us to save our birds and better steward our earth, Half the Sky stands to become a classic, spurring us to spare impoverished women these terrors, and elevate them to turn around the future of their nations.”
—Susan Ager, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Stunning. . . . [Half the Sky] belongs on the ‘must-read’ list because it offers perspective, insight, and clear-eyed optimism for why and how each of us can and should meet one of the great moral and humanitarian challenges of our times.”
—Bill Gates, Sr., The Huffington Post
“Any review of this book should begin without pretence; in the plainest language. Unadorned. Unembellished. Understandable. It should begin with the five following words: This is an important book! Exclamation indicated.”
—New Strait Times
About the Author
Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer in 2006, for “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur.” He has also served as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, and as associate managing editor.
Ms. WuDunn, now a business executive, worked at The New York Times, on both the business and news sides. She has been a foreign correspondent in Asia, a business editor and a television anchor. She is the first Asian-American to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
They live near New York City.
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307387097
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307387097
- Lexile measure : 1170L
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.16 x 0.94 x 8.01 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #16,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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One of the things that bothered me was the double standard that the authors seemed to have when blaming Christianity for the gap in women's rights but bent over backwards to excuse fundamentalist Islam and Islam as a whole. I found the author's attempt to paint Islam as superior to all the other religions when it came to the treatment of women as suspect. The authors attempt to argue that the fundamentalists are misinterpreting the Quran but one of the ways to apologize for the inhumanity of religion is to make the original words say whatever you want them to say. Christian apologists are adept at twisting words and interpretations to make them fit a preconceived image and likely muslim apologists do the same.
I noticed the authors had no problem denouncing Christianity for "The God Gap" in politics as being responsible for limits on abortion, women's rights, etc., but are not willing to paint Islam in the same light. This may be due to the fact that many of the countries where they operate are mostly muslim in terms of religiosity but I found the obvious double standard to be ridiculous at times. Not once do they mention the Quran's specific limitations on Women's Rights but they had no trouble bringing up the old justification for women's disadvantage in Christianity. Namely that Eve ate the fruit first and was the weakest vessel in all respects. There can be no doubt that under all forms of Theocracy that women are always treated as second class citizens however the authors seemed to miss this or deliberately ignored it in the case of Islam.
Despite that one problem I still recommend this book.
Reading Half the Sky is a harrowing undertaking. Often I was outraged and angry in reading this book. I wept often at the grief and pain of the plight of girls and women on the planet. I feel deeply disappointed with the inexcusable and untenable actions of we humans perpetrate on one another. These actions are juxtaposed - antithetical to - the unutterable and profound beauty of Life herself. The discomfort notwithstanding, all of us are well served to be pained deeply at the indignities girls and women live with. We need to be roused from our ostensible comfort - to have our worldview shattered. To be rousted into the rigorous self-discipline of "SEEING" girls and women. Of letting go of our subtle and not-so-subtle subjugation of them.
To me, there is no issue of greater importance than making place for the honoring of girls and women; of freeing girls and women from the inexcusable crimes against humanity perpetrated against them in all moments of their lives! All other crises are of lesser import. The path out of contemporary perils begins by giving place to the feminine, to her wisdom, voice, her brilliance, her creativity, her promise, her dignity, innocence and spiritual beauty.
Our world needs appropriate countervailing forces to those of misogyny and patriarchy. This book educates us some of the issues and some of the necessary steps onward. It appropriately pushes back.
Bravo! Well done in insinuating the promise of your work into the record, and for your stellar contribution toward the tipping point toward a more life-affirming humanity.
Wouldn't it be grand were this book required reading in every secondary school? Every associate degree, trade, undergraduate, graduate, and professional school? A prerequisite for all employment - self or other. For every elected and appointed public or political office? Repeated exposure to this book and it's worldview until our thinking and actions were honoring, welcoming, supportive and responsive - positively - to the lives of girls and women.
I am heartened and changed by my reading of this book - Half the Sky.
Top reviews from other countries
A recommended read for those wanting to learn more about different female oppressions and cultural experiences. This was completely thought provoking and shocking.
Torn & well thumbed cover and bottom right pages. Discoloured and dust clump on book edges.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2020
Torn & well thumbed cover and bottom right pages. Discoloured and dust clump on book edges.
I definitely want to help the women affected by the situations in this book, and the book itself gives advice on how to do so.
If you want a life changing and eye opening book, this one is for you!