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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Susan M McCarthy, MA (Ministry Health Care)
Description: This introductory book covers many common topics in bioethics, as well as some less commonly addressed issues.
Purpose: The authors define bioethics as dealing with issues arising from rapid advances in the biomedical field. They effectively expand the scope of their discussions to environmental and global issues. In evidence is a careful presentation of both sides of controversies ranging from animal research to abortion. Scientists and students accustomed to thinking in black and white will be challenged to think in grays. The discussions of modern controversies from a British perspective will be enlightening to U.S. readers.
Audience: John Bryant and Linda Baggott la Velle, respectively a professor and senior lecturer at British universities, and John Searle, an Anglican priest, sought to develop a textbook for scientists and science students who, though well-grounded in biology, medicine, and other life sciences, have less background in ethical theory and moral philosophy. They have succeeded in meeting their objectives with a book liberally peppered with case studies, discussion questions, and exercises.
Features: The book covers such topics as human genetics, cloning and stem cells, reproductive technologies, and decisions at the end of life. But readers will also find interesting discussions of less commonly addressed issues such as the relationship between human and nonhuman animals, genetic modification of food, crops, and animals, and environmental ethics.
Assessment: The book is sprinkled with song lyrics and literary quotes ranging from the Rolling Stones to Harry Potter, and intriguing chapter and section titles ("Some thoughts on cheese," "When may I die, When am I dead," and "Men and women - do we need both?") making for a unique book and a thought-provoking read for early career and advanced bioethics scholars from both sides of the Atlantic.