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Herold, Edward S.

Mark-ham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, c1984. 183pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-88902-523-1. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

Edward Herold, a PhD in sociology, is currently an associate professor in the department of family studies at the University of Guelph. He is a prolific researcher, publishing extensively in the professional literature on the sexual attitudes and behaviour of Canadians, particularly the young. A testament to his versatility is that Herold has even produced a successful film on adolescent sexuality.

Clearly, this author has impressive credentials. As one would hope, he has lived up to expectations and produced a book that is nothing short of excellent. In a crisp, readable style, Herold covers the current and classic research bearing on all facets of this complex and controversial topic. He is even-handed in his treatment of issues, giving both sides. But, by stressing research findings, he forces the reader to examine controversies in the harsh light of fact and strips away some long-cherished, emotion-laden myths. This is particularly evident in the discussion of abortion.

Other topics covered in the book include early sexual activity, contraception, homosexuality, and sexually-transmitted diseases. A common thread throughout these discussions is the important conceptual distinction between the beliefs or attitudes of adolescents and their actual behaviour. Here again, research findings provide some interesting and often surprising insights.

This book is unusually free of nagging flaws, but one point needs to be mentioned. As stated above, a strength of the book is its clear summarizing of up-to-the-minute research findings. Unfortunately, and very understandably, Herold now and again falls into the trap of allowing the statistics to get away from him. As a result, the reader is sometimes virtually buried under prodigious piles of proportions and percentages. If the author could have found a way to present these in tabular form, it would have saved the reader some tedium.

This one minor criticism aside, one can say that this book is a valuable piece of work. It is compulsory reading for educators, parents and particularly for adolescents themselves. I recommend it without reservation, especially as a text or instructor's guide in courses on sex education.

Glenn DiPasquale, York Region Board of Education, Newmarket, Ont.
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