Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

86%

19 Critic Reviews

In the opening pages of this gripping call to conscience, the husband-and-wife team come out swinging . . . poignant portraits of survivors humanize the issues, divulging facts that moral outrage might otherwise eclipse.
-NY Times

Synopsis

#1 National Bestseller

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
 

About Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism; they won for their coverage of China as New York Times correspondents. Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer for his op-ed columns in the Times. He has also served as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, and as associate managing editor. At the Times, Ms. WuDunn worked as a business editor and as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. They live near New York City.
 
Published August 22, 2009 by Vintage. 320 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Children's Books, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 21 2012
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Critic reviews for Half the Sky
All: 19 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Kristof and WuDunn forcefully contend that improving the lot of girls and women benefits everyone. They conclude with specific steps that individuals can take to support the empowerment movement. Intelligent, revealing and important.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Irshad Manji on Sep 17 2009

In the opening pages of this gripping call to conscience, the husband-and-wife team come out swinging . . . poignant portraits of survivors humanize the issues, divulging facts that moral outrage might otherwise eclipse.

Read Full Review of Half the Sky: Turning Oppress... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by MARTHA NUSSBAUM on Sep 07 2009

Their descriptions of female resourcefulness alone make the case that neglecting women’s agency is a huge political and economic error . . . the book is both stirring and sensible.

Read Full Review of Half the Sky: Turning Oppress... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Ed Pilkington on Aug 18 2010

That is what makes their book – named after the Chinese saying that women hold up half the sky – so unusual, not just in its searing and heart-rending contents but in its steely determination and sense of purpose.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Germaine Greer on Jul 30 2010

The only really enviable privilege that the privileged have is the chance to do good. Kristof and WuDunn make it sound easy. It's practically impossible, but Half the Sky does make you want to try.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Carolyn See on Sep 11 2009

"Half the Sky" is either one of the most important books . . . or it is reportage about a will-o'-the-wisp movement destined to end up in the footnotes of history . . . I'm too stunned by the density of information and the high quality of the prose here to know for sure which it is.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by Josh Ruxin on Nov 09 2009

What Kristof and WuDunn have accomplished with "Half the Sky" is to bring this issue to a broader and committed audience, an audience that - once having read the book - must and will demand action.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Bill Gates, Sr. on Sep 14 2009

The authors titled their book after an old Chinese proverb that says "Women hold up half the sky." It's time that people around the world recognize the full implication of that wise proverb.

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Pajiba

Excellent
Reviewed by Lang on Sep 01 2009

The book will inspire you to do something, anything . . . I loved this book, and I hate pretty much everything. Really.

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Slate

Above average
Reviewed by Johann Hari on Sep 14 2009

Kristof and WuDunn's book is empowering for the reader.

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Bill Williams on Oct 22 2009

“Half the Sky’’ is a grab-the-reader-by-the-lapels wake-up call. The graphic descriptions of abuse routinely heaped upon women and girls merely because of their sex ought to enrage everyone.

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The New York Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Sue Halpern on Sep 19 2009

Kristof and WuDunn . . . recogniz[e] that if their call to action is to succeed off the page, they need to show, not tell, on it. And show they do: every larger point, about human trafficking laws, for example, or global maternal health, is introduced by an explicit, moving, illustrative anecdote, so that the larger narrative is suffused with stories that keep the issues focused and comprehensible. This alone would have made Half the Sky a valuable and instructive book.

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Journey With Jesus

Excellent
Reviewed by Dan Clendenin on Sep 01 2009

There's so much to love about this book. It's broad and deep in its geographical scope.

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The L Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Audrey Ference on Oct 08 2012

The authors have no critique of globalism to offer, nor do they appear to grasp how western economic power keeps the developing world too poor to develop.

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National Catholic Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Sr. Rose Pacatte on Oct 01 2012

At once compelling, overwhelming, hopeful and life-changing.

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HARVARD MAGAZINE

Below average
Reviewed by Rohini Pande on Sep 01 2009

Some of the actions they suggest to casual readers . . . sometimes feel more like an attempt at moral improvement of Westerners than effective ways to bring about change elsewhere.

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Verge Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Verge on Sep 01 2009

Half the Sky will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.

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Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Das on Sep 01 2009

A heart-wrenching analysis of problems along with well-researched solutions.

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Thinking Beyond Borders

Good
Reviewed by Robin Pendoley on Sep 01 2009

Half the Sky’s strongest components are the sections following each chapter highlighting unique efforts around the globe to address each challenge to women’s freedom and quality of life listed in the book.

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