UNTIL THE TWELFTH OF NEVER

THE DEADLY DIVORCE OF DAN AND BETTY BRODERICK

Richly researched, gripping story of a castoff San Diego wife who shot and killed her ex-husband and his new wife one morning in 1989 while they lay asleep. Debut author Stumbo (a Los Angeles Times reporter) makes no pleas but shows that well-spoken, well-read Betty Broderick was so beaten with betrayal by her husband that her present 30-year sentence is probably unjust. Betty and Dan endured nine pregnancies that produced four children, and Betty bonded to Dan all the way, sharing his obsession with getting a legal degree for himself, on top of his medical degree, so that he could reap millions as a medical-malpractice lawyer. This took big sacrifices: Betty was not only a mother machine and superwife but she also did extra jobs to support the family while Dan got his second degree at Harvard, fraternized with future business ties, and kept himself in brilliant plumage. Stumbo follows the Brodericks through their rise from poverty to high fashion in La Jolla, and she captures Betty's disbelief when, after 16 years of marriage, Dan fell for ``teenaged office bimbo'' Linda Kolkena. Dan denied the affair for two years while setting up house with Linda and giving her a fancy office as his paralegal. When Dan moved out, Betty's whole nature changed as she became foul-mouthed, burned all of Dan's suits, drove her car through the front door of his new house, and harassed him endlessly—all of which helped Dan win a no-fault divorce and the kids. Greedy but 'borderline hysteric' Betty grew ever battier as years went by, and finally killed Dan and Linda. Her first trial ended in a hung jury, but the second convicted her—of murder in the second degree. The white male power structure that defends Dan, his divorce rulings, and his silver-tongued but hard-drinking selfishness gets a rough going over here. You do begin to see Betty's side of things. Bang bang.

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-72666-8

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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