During the past two years, two excellent new books on circumcision have been published:

Circumcision: Frankly Speaking

Gerald N. Weiss, MD and Andrea W. Harter

  Dr. Gerald N. Weiss is a surgeon with more that 50 years´ experience of both the practical and scientific aspects of circumcision. He is also a highly respected medical researcher who has published numerous articles in various highly respected medical journals. The co-author Andrea W. Harter is an award winning journalist who has written extensively in many fields, amongst them health matters.

To read excerpts from the book, see here.

  In this new book - "Circumcision: Frankly Speaking" - co-written by Dr. Gerald Weiss and Andrea Harter, the authors have set themselves the task of explaining - in terms which can easily be understood by the non-specialist - the medical facts and issues that surround this often very controversial subject.

  In order to achieve this they have distilled the essential information contained in numerous studies that have been published in the medical literature, and combined these facts with the practical experience gleaned by Dr. Weiss during his many years working in this field as a surgeon. The result is a work that is at the same time informative and authoratative, and easily understandable by the general public. The scientific information provided is up to date with current thinking in the medical establishment, which now againing favoring a pro-circumcision stance.

  Prospective parents will find the book especially welcome, since it contains all the information that they might need in order to make an informed decision whether to have their newborn circumcised, without having to dig through the myriad of sources themselves.

  The book starts off by putting circumcision it its historical perspective: it is the oldest documented surgery in the world, with references to it dating back many thousands of years. It is moreover a procedure that is truly universal, being practised by many diverse cultures on all continents.

  The book then goes on to discuss what actually happens during a circumcision. This section will be of special interest to those readers who have not witnessed one themselves, or prepare those who want to witness their child´s circumcision to know what to expect. The authors deal amongst others with the controversial aspect of how much pain an infant experiences during circumcision. The important point that the authors make is that the concept (or sensation) of pain is a very subjective one. Although it is nowadays accepted that infants are able to experience some form of pain, it is noted that the nerve responses in newborns are not yet sufficiently developed to experience pain in the same way that a baby of six months will experience, much less that of an adult.

  The authors furthermore point out that a lot can be done to make the procedure as comfortable for the baby as possible by e.g. giving him some kind of pacifier or analgesia, and by choosing an experienced person to do the operation, which will minimize the time needed to do the procedure.

  The rest of the book discusses the other aspects surrounding the circumcision issue. A very important topic it the discussion of the medical benefits of circumcision. The medical results are again presented in a way which is easily understandable by the general (non-medically trained) public. The book ends with a very personal and moving account by Andrea Harter about how she came to make the decision to have her own sons circumcised. Especially prospective mothers will find much in common with this frank and honest testimony.

  To summarize, anyone who is interested in the subject of circumcision will not be disappointed by this book. The clear-headed and honest manner in which the book is written makes for a refreshing change from the usual literature that can be found on the subject. Furthermore, the absence of the use of scare tactics or implicit threats to make a point sets the book light years apart from the rest. Judging from the response that the book has received on, it has touched a raw nerve with the anti-circumcision fanatics, who up till now have been used to getting their own way and never encountering any opposition to their radical (and often illogical) views.

  "Circumcision: Frankly Speaking" is published by Wiser Publications, and is available online from both and Barnes and Noble.

  Back to the top


In Favour of Circumcision

Brian W. Morris

  Brian Morris is a professor at the University of Sydney´s Department of Physiology. In addition to teaching medicine, he is also a scientist of very high repute, with more than 180 publications to his name.

  Before we review the book, some information about its author. Dr. Brian Morris is uniquely qualified to write about the subject of circumcision for many reasons. First of all, although his research is in fields directly related to medicine (genetics, etc. ), he himself is not a medical practitioner, which means that he cannot be accused of trying to profit from the procedure financially.

  As an eminant scientist, who is active both as a teacher and researcher, he insight into current medical research is undisputed: Someone who has more than 180 publications himself, is uniquely able to give an unbiased judgement about the research of others.

  The book gives a detailed discussion of topics involving circumcision, covering subjects like the procedure, physical problems and diseases associated with the prepuce and the circumcision debate. The latter discussion includes a very insightful discussion about the tactics and modus operandus of the anti-circumcision lobby. This, and the inclusion of personal testimonies of men, sent to Brian Morris from all over the world, makes the book especially worthwhile.

  However, it is in the unbiased, unemotional way that current medical results are presented and discussed, that the book provides the best addition to the topic of circumcision for a long time. Brian Morris has studied literally hundreds of publications - just look at the reference list at the end of the book to convince yourself.

  The scientific merits of Morris´s book becomes even more apparent if it is compared to some of the anti-circumcision literature that is available out there. These consists for the most part of emotional diatribes about "psychological harms" ...

  Brian Morris´s book is available directly from the publisher (see here for details), or online from e.g. Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

  Back to the top

Back to the Homepage