IN OUR HANDS

A HAND SURGEON’S TALES OF THE BODY’S MOST EXQUISITE INSTRUMENT

Thorough, informative, and warmly human.

A surgeon portrays the versatility and intricate anatomy of the human hand, as well as the terrible things that can go wrong with it.

A hand is “the Rosetta stone of the soul,” according to Arem (Surgery/Univ. of New Mexico; Clinical Associate/Univ. of Arizona College of Medicine). More than 20 years as a hand surgeon have not dimmed his fascination with and awe of this unique appendage, and he shares his enthusiasm here. First, he tells the stories of 11 patients who have come to him for repair of injuries or deformities. In each, the personality of the patient and accompanying family members or friends are as much a part of the story as the hand and its treatment. Rather than the aloof surgeon of stereotype, Arem listens closely to people’s concerns. He is at heart a teacher, making sure his patients understand what has happened to them, what he will try to do for them, and what they must do for themselves. Similarly, as he describes each surgical procedure, he explains to the reader what he hopes to accomplish, what the problems are, and how he will handle them. Cases include creating an opposable thumb for a child born without one, salvaging hands nearly destroyed by gangrene or ravaged by rheumatic disease, and dealing with rattlesnake-bitten or machinery-mangled fingers. Less dramatic but no less interesting are cases involving carpal-tunnel syndrome and psychosomatic illness. In Part Two, “An Informal History of the Hand,” Arem briefly touches on the language of gestures, the physiology of touch, left-handedness, palmistry, phantom limb pain, skin grafting, prostheses, the special significance of the thumb, and the nature of carpal-tunnel and rheumatoid disease.

Thorough, informative, and warmly human.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-7179-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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