Wong's discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.

DISABILITY VISIBILITY

FIRST-PERSON STORIES FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A self-described "disabled activist” brings together diverse perspectives in an anthology to be published on the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Wong, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, makes it clear that she never intended the book to serve as a "best of" work or a quasi-academic syllabus for “Disability 101.” As she writes, “I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in, rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment.” The editor notes that, according to the most recent U.S. census, 20% of citizens in the country live with a disability. The book is divided into four sections. "Being" captures writings that explain the daily challenges of wrestling with a disability, from blindness and deafness to autism, bipolar personality, generalized mental illness, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and others. In “Becoming,” the essays focus less on defining a specific disability and more on how the contributors have figured out how to follow a life-affirming path. "Doing" displays the accomplishments—many of them quite remarkable—that affect not only the anthologists, but also society at large. The final section, "Connecting," illuminates how those labeled as disabled find ways to transcend isolation. Some of the essays are original, but many have been previously published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and elsewhere. Readers will recognize relatively common scenes, such as Haben Girma’s navigating with a guide dog (“Guide Dogs Don’t Lead Blind People. We Wander as One.”), while other contributions ably demonstrate that not all disabilities are apparent. Recognizing that “it is impossible to capture the full expanse of the disability experience in one book,” the editor offers a robust section of further reading that encompasses not just nonfiction, but also fiction, poetry, podcasts, and other forms of expression.

Wong's discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984899-42-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT PANDEMIC

The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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