Friends and relatives speak
“Alzheimer’s in America: The Shriver Report on Women and Alzheimer’s” (Free Press, $12.99)

Maria Shriver’s latest contribution to her Alzheimer’s advocacy work is this guide to the disease, aimed at women caught between the dual demands of work and providing for a friend or relative with Alzheimer’s. What makes the book stand out are the personal essays by figures such as Laura Bush, actress Soleil Moon Frye, broadcaster Chris Matthews and football player Terrell Owens, all of whom have had family members with the disease. The most intense essay comes from a woman in Florida who is a caregiver to both her 53-year-old husband with Alzheimer’s and their 7-year-old daughter, all while working full time. She confesses, “I’m tired, so tired. And I’m terrified. But I fight on because I have no choice.”

Helping women and babies survive
“Missing Midwives,” Save the Children

A new report by the international charity Save the Children reveals the human cost of the global shortage of midwives. Some of the statistics from “Missing Midwives”: 358,000 mothers and more than 814,000 babies around the world die each year during childbirth. More than 2 million women give birth completely alone. Save the Children is calling on governments to take action toward recruiting, training, paying and deploying more midwives and health workers. The group posits that midwives trained in just eight procedures — such as using forceps and keeping the baby warm and fed after birth — would reduce the number of newborn deaths by more than a third in 68 countries with the worst neonatal mortality rates, including Afghanistan, Congo and Somalia.

Rachel Saslow