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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

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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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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