Well (The Marriage of the Sun and Moon, Chocolate to Morphine) at his unusual and controversial best: a rigorous exploration of the broad questions raised by "alternative therapies" that opens up the whole issue of a mind-body connection and its importance in healing. The Harvard-trained physician and adept of traditional cures draws on his own experiences (as patient and physician), on medical and scientific literature, and on reports from colleagues and acquaintances to develop a new model of health and healing. In Well's view, orthodox, allopathic medicine has much to offer (it's the treatment he'd choose for severe trauma or heart attack, for instance); but it has become bound by its practitioners' efforts to make it a "real" science, like physics or chemistry. In actuality: "health and illness are. . . close to the mysteries at the heart of existence." On the other hand, traditional therapies like homeopathy, faith healing, and acupuncture (to which Well would turn first for some cancers, arthritis, and many chronic diseases), if unable to fully explain the mind-body connection, do exploit it to the fullest in healing. Well would define health as a temporary "dynamic and harmonious equilibrium of all the elements and forces making up and surrounding a human being." Perfect health, analogously, is unattainable. It is all right to be sick (anger and guilt interfere with healing); the body has innate healing abilities that can be cultivated; agents of disease—like genes—are not causes of disease (thus, possibilities for prevention increase); all illness involves both mind and body components; each body is different, and has its own weak point. Proceeding from such new ideas, Weil examines the history and practice of allopathic medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, Chinese medicine, Shamanism, mind cures, faith healing, psychic healing, holistic medicine, and quackery: what works and what doesn't in each system? what do they have in common? what does it all mean for the future? New kinds of research are needed, Well concludes, into such "anomalous occurrences," with mind-body implications, as wart cures (why does the raw potato/new moon treatment work?), placebo responses, and spiritualists-walking-barefoot-on-hot-coals. It also behooves us to change our concept of proven: let it mean "tested"—by time, experiment, or experience—and the way will be open to the use of alternative therapies. Meanwhile, we should learn how to keep healthy most of the time and "to recognize and correct most deviations from health" without consulting orthodox or unorthodox practitioners. A sound theoretical exploration, personably set forth.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1983

ISBN: 0395377641

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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