We wrote this book about the circumcision decision for several reasons. The main reason was that an unbiased guide for parents didn’t exist! Yes, there are a number of books about circumcision. But each one tries to persuade readers. Doctors who emphasize the potential medical benefits of circumcision try to persuade readers to circumcise while psychologists and others who consider removal of a healthy foreskin from a healthy infant unnecessary or wrong, try to persuade readers to leave their son’s foreskin intact.
Because the authors each spent decades researching and writing books about complex social, medical and ethical issues, they decided to write a book about this issue, and to make the book evenhanded, unbiased but thoroughly researched. “It’ll only take a few months to write,” Susan assured Lorna, her longtime editor. Instead, the project took three years! It also proved to be one of the most interesting topics they had ever researched. And by the time they were finished, circumcision had become a vigorously debated and newsworthy topic—with stories about attempts to ban circumcision in San Francisco, and in Germany and Austria, stories about dangerous practices among ritual circumcisers, articles about studies of its value in reducing HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases, and a growing about the rights of infants and the ethics of circumcision. Then, in 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement that reversed some of its earlier position on circumcision.
Susan, being pro-circumcision and Lorna, being anti-circumcision, provide balance and accuracy for their book, since they were always alert, and called each other out whenever they detected any bias or slant. Every sentence had to be fair, balanced, and correct!
You’re invited to explore this site—and to read The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents. Some of the topics, such as the potential medical benefits of circumcision, are covered more thoroughly in the book. Other topics, such as whether or not it is important to look like Dad—or a brother, cousins, or friend—or who has the right to make the decision—you or your son, when he grows up—are only in the book. Still others are in this site but not in the book. That was our plan for a number of reasons, including a desire to keep the book shorter and readable—and easier to finish reading before the child’s imminent birth! Keep in mind, however, that the purpose of both this site and the book is to help you research the question: Should I circumcise my son or leave his foreskin intact? Since Susan and Lorna believe it is your decision, the information here and in their book, The Circumcision Decision is unbiased, based on authoritative research and includes advice from leading authorities in their fields, including physicians, ethicists and religious leaders and scholars.
About the Authors
Susan Terkel is the author of numerous books about medical and social issues, including Feeling Safe, Feeling Strong (one of the earliest books about child sexual abuse) and Finding Your Way, a book that explains ethics for teens. Her book People Power was on the American Bookseller Association’s “Pick of the List,” and Ethics was selected as Hungry Mind Review’s “Editor’s Choice,” and recommended reading by Parents Magazine. Colonial American Medicine was selected for Science Books and Film’s “Best Children’s Books” list. She has written two books about drug policy: the first earned starred reviews; the second was selected for the American Library Association’s “100 Books a College-Bound Student Should Read.” Recently, she coauthored Small Change, selected a finalist for Books for a Better Life Award, and featured in USA Today.
Ms. Terkel is a graduate of Cornell University, where she studied Child Development and Family Relationships. She also studied Social Work at Case Western Reserve University. In addition to writing, she is an artist, wife, mother, grandmother and schmoozer.
Lorna Greenberg is along-time book editor. She has originated and directed a wide range of projects, including books on brain damage, a teen health dictionary, kids and guns, women in the Middle East, studies of ancient civilizations, a study of creativity, a history of jazz, and numerous biographies of historical figures. She is the author of AIDS: How It Works in the Body, which was selected for Science Books and Film’s “Best Children’s Books” list. She coauthored The Circumcision Decision with Susan Terkel, after editing a number of her previous books.
After graduating from the University of Rochester, Ms. Greenberg earned an M.A. from New York University’s Graduate Institute of Book Publishing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She has worked for numerous publishers, and edited hundreds of books. She works as a freelance editor, writer and consultant, specializing in non-fiction.