Compassionate, useful reading related by an expert in his field.

REACHING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

A RENOWNED NEUROLOGIST EXPLAINS THE MYSTERY AND DRAMA OF BRAIN DISEASE

A renowned neurologist examines some important questions: “[W]hat does it mean to be the patient faced with these seismic problems, and how is a connection made with the physician who embodies the knowledge that can make it better?”

Harvard Medical School professor and Brigham and Women’s Hospital master clinician Ropper and writer Burrell make an intellectual, sympathetic team: One brings the meat and potatoes to the table, the other, a measure of distance. They exhibit both a hungry curiosity and an elegant writing style married to the humbleness that comes from standing at the edge of the rabbit hole. The meat and potatoes are the individual cases that have crossed Ropper’s path and that the authors have framed into stories. These neurological tales shimmer and flash, a wily combination of Oliver Sacks and Berton Roueché, “through the painstaking examination of the patient. Every gesture, every movement, every inflection of speech, every reflex, all these point to the precise location of the problem in the nervous system.” Though a neurologist has to be well-acquainted with the design and function of the nervous system and use the latest technology, it’s also vitally important to “[s]tick with the patient’s story and the bedside exam.” Ropper’s patients range all over the place, from heroic to discomfiting to scary, and his predilection to neurological arcana makes for gripping material—as one patient recalled, “When they started…the hallucinations, what I saw first was Queen Elizabeth and her corgis in my fireplace…I also had Dick Tracy come by. He had a yellow overcoat. It was Warren Beatty.” The author explores a wide variety of conditions, including the exterior degeneration of ALS and the often befuddling symptoms of advanced brain trauma, but he rarely falls into jargon and always keeps the narrative lively and engaging.

Compassionate, useful reading related by an expert in his field.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-03498-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more