DUE CONSIDERATION

CONTROVERSY IN THE AGE OF MEDICAL MIRACLES

Quick takes on a slew of biomedical-ethics issues in down-to-earth, sometimes downright slangy, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may prose. Caplan (If I Were a Rich Man I Could Buy a Pancreas and Other Essays on Medical Ethics, not reviewed), a leading bioethicist and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, has the common touch when it comes to pointing out the implications of the numerous sticky problems modern medicine has generated. He has grouped his essays into 11 categories, including abortion and birth control, genetics, technological reproduction, managed care, starting and stopping care, and assisted suicide. Many of these short pieces had their beginnings as newspaper columns, and it shows. The lead-in is often punchy: ``Abortion kills''; ``Quit blubbering''; ``America is a nation loony over individual liberty.'' The language is often flippant: Sex offenders are ``certified kooks'' and ``creeps,'' Dr. Kevorkian is a ``phony,'' a ``dangerous nut'' waging a ``euthansia jihad''; Congress is filled with ``blockheads.'' The trigger for each story is often a headline of the day, such as Mickey Mantle's speedy liver transplant, O.J. Simpson's acquittal in the face of damning DNA evidence, or presidential candidate Bob Dole's ``gonzo views'' on tobacco. All this no doubt lent these pieces immediacy at the time, but it now makes them seem a bit dated. Further, editing to combine some of these short pieces would have eliminated unnecessary repetition. While the brevity of these essays is often disconcerting, Caplan is alert to new and developing problems, swift at getting to what he sees as the heart of an issue, and emphatic in his opinions. Provocative and accessible. High-school teachers take note: Here's an approachable way to get the kids thinking.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 1997

ISBN: 0-471-18344-X

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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 LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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