Book - "In Favour of Circumcision"

"In Favour of Circumcision"

by Dr Brian Morris

published by UNSW Press, Sydney, 1999,
ISBN 0-86840-537-X [104 pages; 170 references], $16.95.




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This book has received a lot of publicity and good reviews in newspapers, magazines and medical publications. The following three reviews that appeared on Amazon:

Review by Edgar J. Schoen, MD

Chairman, American Academy of Pediatrics 1989 Task Force on Circumcision Book Review "In Favour of Circumcision" by Brian Morris, DSc. UNSW Press.

At last! Finally we have a well-written book for the public by a scientist who objectively and accurately presents an evidence-based picture of the medical value of newborn circumcision.

In particular, Dr. Morris reviews the significant studies over the past 15 years, which give compelling evidence of the protective effect of newborn circumcision against severe kidney infections in the first year of life. In addition, references are cited from over 40 studies showing that uncircumcised men have about a three-fold increased risk of contracting heterosexual HIV infection, leading the World Health Organization to recognize the role of circumcision in preventing world-wide AIDS.

In contrast to the scores of anti-circumcision books and web-sites filled with anecdotes, testimonials, and opinions, Dr. Morris concentrates on published evidence, backed by a reference section.

A review in the Journal of Urology characterizes a recent anti-circumcision book by two leading opponents of circumcision as "a biased presentation of poorly collected data." Dr. Morris, by contrast, has given us a documented, updated review of circumcision as a preventive health measure, which confirms the advantages, including prevention of penile cancer, foreskin infection, and improved genital hygiene.

Methods for performing circumcision are included, reflecting the current feeling that local anesthesia should be used in newborns to avoid pain. As an aside to the medical studies, Morris includes a section devoted to personal testimonies of men whose lives were improved by circumcision, as a counterbalance to the anti-circumcision witnesses.

If you want an emotional, biased presentation of testimonials, beliefs, and anecdotes, tune into the web-sites and literature of anti-circumcision groups with catchy acronyms such as NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers), NOHARMM (National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Ritual Mutilation of Males), RECAP (Re-Cover a Penis), and BUFF (Brothers United for Future Foreskins). But read "In Favour of Circumcision" if you are a provider looking for objective information, an anglophile who appreciates good writing, or a prospective parent looking for the facts on newborn circumcision. Reviewer from the U.K. (an academic)

Anyone seeing some of the other titles listed under "circumcision" or trawling the net would know that there is a vocal anti-circumcision lobby. Yet the practice is widespread, and many circumcised men are glad and grateful to be circumcised. Brian Morris considers not only the debate and the problems that may attend the procedure, but also examines available data on its role in disease prevention, and sets the debate in the wider context of society's attitudes to sex.

Of particular interest are individual testimonials. The general tone is very much more scientific and reasoned than much of the present debate: a valuable source book for parents and those interested in men's health.

A reviewer in the USA: As a noted scientific researcher in the medical field, Dr. Morris has the benefit that the experience of many years of active research brings with it. As a scientist he is also able to judge the merits of the scientific works of others. The book is based on the research contained in many medical papers that have been published in various highly respected medical journals.

What makes the book so worthwhile is the fact that it contains up-to-date information and facts. These are presented in a clear, easy to read and - unbiased - manner, which can unfortunately not be said of many of the publications distributed by people belonging to the anti-circumcision lobby.

In addition to the medical information, the book also contains a very interesting and revealing chapter on the anti-circumcision movement, pointing out their tactics and tendency to often twist medical facts to suit their own needs. Another valuable chapter contains the personal testimonies of men around the world.

To summarize: This is a very valuable book, and a must-read for anyone who is interested in unbiased scientifically based facts. The anti-circumcision lobby is probably not going to like it, since it refutes many of their claims!! Together with the book of Weiss and Harterit provides a welcome source of information about a topic that has been the target of a lot of misinformation and lies in the past. Do read it!!

In a letter dated 5 Nov 1999 sent to the author by Dr Brendan Nelson, former President of the Australian Medical Association and currently the Member for Bradfield in the Australian Federal Parliament, he writes:

"Thank you not only for recently having me at the University to consider the financial and administrative issues surrounding University education and physiology in particular, but also for drawing to my attention your book entitled, In Favour of Circumcision.

I have acquired and read the book and find it an excellent resource for anyone who has an interest in the issue and especially those of us who seek to give bewildered parents some kind of balanced advice. Congratulations on a dispassionate and well-informed, rounded analysis of the vexed issue. At least it is one issue that isn't going to go away.

Circumcision Info

What is circumcision?
Who in the world gets circumised?
The circumcision debate.
Circumcision history and recent trends.
Position statements by national pediatric bodies.
Why the foreskin increases infection risk.
Circumcision - 'shapshot' of health benefits + reviews.
Different specialists see different things.
Circumcision - benefits outweigh the risks.
Pain and memory.
Penile hygiene.
What motivates parents to baby boy circumcision.
Rates of circumcision.
Physical problems.
Inflammatory dermatoses.
Urinary tract infections.
Sexually transmitted infections.
Cancer of the penis.
Prostate cancer.
Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Breast cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men.
Herpes simplex type 2 virus in women.
Chlamydia in women.
Trichomonas in women.
Bacterial vaginosis in women.
HIV: the AIDS virus.
Circumcision Socio-sexual aspects.
Circumcision - sensitivity, sensation & sexual function.
Circumcision - societal class distinction.
Circumcision prevents infibulation.
Circumcision procedure.
Circumcision & Anesthesia.
Cost of the Circumcision procedure.
Cost benefit of Circumcision.
Circumcision - how do I find someone to do it?.
Circumcision - whose responsibility?
Risks in infants.
Circumcision - risks in adults & older boys.
Circumcision - breastfeeding outcomes and cognitive ability.
Circumcision, does it affect penis length?
Circumcision - why are human males born with a foreskin?
Circumcision - best not to delay til later.
Circumcision - what caused many cultures to ritually remove the foreskin?
In Alphabetical Order
(A – I)(J – R)(S – Z)
Brochures, circumcision information guide.
Anti Circumcision
Anti-circumcision lobby groups.
Links & Resources
Circumcision websites & online discussion groups.
BOOK: "In Favour of Circumcision".
About the Author - Professor Emeritus Brian J. Morris.
Adult circumcision stories - testimonials and more.
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