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Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance
by Lewis Kostiner
with an introduction by Juan Williams and essays by David Travis, Shipra S. Parikh, Roland C. Warren, and Derrick M. Bryan

Casemate Publishers have made Kostiner's book available for display and review copies across America. For more information, please contact Lauren Stead, Executive Marketer at Casemate.


Winner of a 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award: The Bronze Medal in the Parenting Category.

Families come in all sizes, shapes, and traditions, each a unique variation of a universal human theme. Whether one comes from a heterosexual, single-sex, or one-parent home, stability and love are paramount. Unfortunately, in the United States, the absence of fathers from their children's lives has become a real problem. In fact, the Brookings Institute has identified absentee fathers as among America's most pressing problems—as important as the economy, education, the environment, health care, infrastructure, you name it. Why? Because nearly every social ill finds its roots in the fatherless home.

Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance is meant to explore this issue as no previous book has. And it does so through the art of photography, in which Lewis Kostiner makes portraits of dads who are involved in their childrens' lives. The book is also accompanied by informative essays by Juan Williams, of Fox News; David Travis, who was Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1975–2008; Shipra S. Parikh, a licensed clinical social worker who also teaches and conducts research at the University of Chicago and Loyola University in Chicago; Roland C. Warren, the former president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing fatherhood in America, who also served on President Obama's task force on responsible fatherhood; and Derrick M. Bryan, a sociologist at the Morehouse College.

Getting fathers to be more involved in their children's lives is of paramount importance, if America is to regain ground as an international leader. Right now, the statistics look grim: forty years ago only eleven percent of America's children lived in homes without fathers, but today more than a third do: more than 24,000,000! This translates into high poverty rates, high drop-out rates in high school, high rates of incarceration, multiple behavioral problems, and the list of social ills goes on.

As President Obama has declared, fatherhood does not begin with conception but with the responsibilities that come with creating and caring for a human life. Although changes in custody rulings and other policy remedies are possible, behavioral patterns are often outside the reach of policy. Choosing Fatherhood offers a hopeful direction that America does have a second chance at correcting a troubling trend, but time is slipping, and awareness of the problem is an important start.


Click to read the four-star review from Amazon, along with an article from the Brown Alumni Magazine, and other reviews for Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance.

Within twenty-four hours of the broadcast on Fox News, Lewis Kostiner's book, Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance, had risen to #10 in viewings on Amazon for photography books.

"As the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me, with the help of my grandparents, you know, I turned out O.K. [Nonetheless] I wish I had had a father who was around and involved." President Barack Obama, as quoted in "In Chicago, Policy Speech By Obama Gets Personal" by Jackie Calmes,The New York Times (February 16, 2013): A11.

Photographs by Lewis Kostiner accompany the article: "Black Fathers Not A Complete Anomaly, New Book 'Dare To Be Extraordinary' Demonstrates", Huffington Post

$50.00 U.S. (trade discount) No e-book has been authorized.
Hardcover with jacket
200 pages with 112 color photographs by the author
10.0" x 11.0" upright/portrait
ISBN: 978–1–938086–05–2

Published in Fall 2012

Distributed by Casemate/IPM

No e-book has been authorized.

Published in association with National Fatherhood Initiative

Lewis Kostiner Photography

About the Author and Essayists

Book Events:
April 11, 2013 from 5-7:00p.m.
Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center
320 East 94th St, 2nd Flr, New York City
Author Talk and Book Signing (click for pdf of poster)

November 27, 2012 from 12:30-1:30p.m.
IIT Institute of Design, Nathan Room, 6th Floor of ID Chicago, IL
Choosing Fatherhood: America's Second Chance: A Visual Ethnography and Appeal

May 16, 2012
Congressional Meeting Room #125 South
at the Capitol Visitor's Center, Washington, DC
National Fatherhood Initiative hosts a Congressional hearing.

Spring 2015
The Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL

March 2 - June 2, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 2
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL
Choosing Fatherhood – The Photographic Journey
(click for announcement)

January 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2013
The Leica Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago, IL (click for announcement)
Photographs of Lewis Kostiner by Matt Kosterman

Book Information Sheet (pdf)

Fox News Interview with Lewis Kostiner and Juan Williams

University of Chicago Radio Interview with Lewis Kostiner


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