Books

Quick Reads: Nathanael Johnson's "All Natural"

| Mon Jan. 28, 2013 5:56 AM EST
book cover

All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest for Health and Happiness in an Age of Ecological Anxiety
By Nathanael Johnson
RODALE

In this thought-provoking read, Harper's contributor Nathanael Johnson weaves stories of his patchouli upbringing with trenchant interrogations of both "natural" and "technological" solutions to everything from pig farming to child rearing. For example, he cites studies showing that laboring mothers died at a higher rate in the mid-aughts than they did in the late 1990s as a symptom of how hospitals overtreat us—in this case with unnecessary C-sections that raise women's mortality risk. On the flip side, Johnson recounts his own home birth in Berkeley, where his hippie mother was bleeding uncontrollably by the time her midwife called in a doctor.

This review originally appeared in the January/February issue of Mother Jones.