February 29, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Why Gender Matters

By |2018-03-21T18:28:58+01:00December 1st, 2005|Recent Reviews|

By Leonard Sax

Broadway Books, 2005. 322 pages.


hat Dr. Sax’s best selling work offers is actually two books in one. The first is a serious discussion of family practitioner observations bolstered by independent and rigorous cognitive and neurological studies, highly selected of course.

This first book is great: it’s an urgent call to teachers and parents to educate and raise children through awareness that male and female brains are, to an extent, hardwired differently. So book number 1 pushes hypotheses we need to consider, examine, and debate. But book 2, the book within a book, is a very dangerous pop cult work on gender differences. The threat is that readers will take Sax’s conclusions as bona fide. For isn’t this an M.D. and Ph.D. sharing his homely version of behavior and learning problems, as observed in his very office, in very real Toms and Jerrys and Emmas? And doesn’t he scrupulously confirm these observations with an extensive bibliography?

So what’s not to like? To start, no reader can avoid the unhappy realization that a deft writer’s hand is at work. It slowly and surely manipulates scientific hypothesis and intensely pertinent question toward simplistic, across the board slogan explanations. There are far many cheerily simplistic solutions, for which the good doctor has a real talent.

About the Author:

Former Rabelais scholar Patricia Fogarty honed her skills in the New York City publishing world. She lives in Rome and has been the magazine's book columnist for a decade.