RACHEL RABKIN PEACHMAN
For her article exploring the psychology of assisted reproductive technology, Rachel Rabkin Peachman profiled sisters who shared womb and egg (“Aunt Mommy”). She was touched by the sisters’ attitudes: “It takes a special kind of person—and a special kind of relationship—to be able to offer yourself in that way. Both of these women did so without hesitation. Even with all the fertility technology, doctors, lawyers, and psychologists involved, the essential ingredient for them was love.” Peachman, who lives in New Jersey, has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Health. “I don’t know if I personally would have been able to donate eggs and not feel more connected with the resulting children; I think it’s inspiring.”
Story subject Matt Bowden is not just any businessman: He’s a rock star and former addict who wants the government to regulate recreational drugs. Writer Maia Szalavitz, who tells Bowden’s story, was at first shocked that no one in Bowden’s home country of New Zealand was critical of the former addict. When she realized his product was safer than anything on the black market, she was even more surprised that no one in America had heard of him. “I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if he’s really a ‘drug dealer with a heart of gold,’” she says. Szalavitz, a New York-based writer, has covered addiction and drug policy for more than 30 years for the New York Times, Time, and other publications. She is at work on her next book, tentatively titled Unbroken Brain: Why Addiction Is a Learning Disorder and What To Do About It.
In “The Outcast at the Gate” Alastair Gee considers what society should do when sex offenders are released from incarceration. He writes about one recently released child molester, and a new program, started in Canada and increasingly popular in the U.S., that may offer a modicum of hope. “It’s not easy,” Gee says. “The program involves a lot of man hours—but trying to reintegrate this population does seem to reduce reoffending.” Gee was moved by the volunteers in the group: “These people are willing to put time in to connect with somebody who has done abhorrent things. They don’t look past that, because it’s very much a part of their relationship, but they are still willing to forge a relationship.” Gee is based in San Francisco and has written for the Economist, the New Yorker online, and the New York Times.
In Jessica Weisberg’s profile of Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, the marriage advice superstars (“Harville Hendrix Wants to Save America, One Marriage at a Time”), she writes about the couple’s unshakable conviction that marriage improves people’s lives. “They argue that marriage is good for society not just in the socioeconomic sense, but in the spiritual sense,” Weisberg says. “That’s part of their appeal. I think people like believing that their marriages are benefiting the world.” Weisberg is a story editor at the media company Page 1, and is working on a book about the history of popular advice. She has written for Elle, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and others.
In the long shadow of the Vietnam War, Sally Satel worked as a psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she watched countless veterans face their future after receiving a PTSD diagnosis. “It often seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a loss of flourishing for so many of these guys who were told their prognosis was poor and were given a check.” Satel is now a lecturer in psychiatry at Yale and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. In this issue’s books section she reviews two new books on PTSD. Her own most recent book, Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, written with Scott Lilienfeld, was a 2014 finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science.
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