An uneven but poignant memoir that will be useful to caregivers of all ages and occupations.

THE SOUL OF CARE

THE MORAL EDUCATION OF A HUSBAND AND A DOCTOR

A renowned psychiatrist and anthropologist mixes a memoir of his adolescence and professional training with a detailed account of his decade as a caregiver for his wife, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in 1941, Kleinman (Anthropology/Harvard Univ.; What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life Amidst Uncertainty and Danger, 2006, etc.) gravitated toward medical studies after a difficult family life and a streak of “waywardness.” He relates his love-at-first-sight relationship with Joan. They met in college; she was two years his elder, from a more stable family and a worldlier background. For many years, she placed her professional desires in the background to care for the home, rear their children, take the lead in developing their friendships, and make day-to-day living as easy as possible for her workaholic husband. His dual interest in both medical care and anthropology led them around the globe, with emphases on China and Taiwan. Eventually, Joan also developed expertise in Chinese language and culture. Given her sterling example of winning trust from almost every person who entered her life, Kleinman developed deep empathy and excellent listening skills, making him a holistic practitioner who understood the intricate connections among mind, body, and the stresses of the larger culture. When Joan started failing physically before age 60 due to what finally got diagnosed as early-onset Alzheimer’s, Kleinman felt compelled to learn how to serve as a caregiver within what he came to understand as a dysfunctional American health care bureaucracy. In addition to providing a detailed account of Joan’s decline and death during 2011, he also offers case studies of his nonfamily patients. As he clearly shows, his patients informed his care of Joan, and his arduous caregiving for Joan informed his medical practice. The second half of the book, focused on the author’s dedication to his wife’s care, is more compelling than the scattered, often repetitious first half.

An uneven but poignant memoir that will be useful to caregivers of all ages and occupations.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55932-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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