by Chip Jones ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 18, 2020
A moving exploration of an unthinkable trespass against an innocent man.
Another sad tale of virulent racism—this time involving the medical community—at the height of the civil rights movement.
Jones is a Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist with deep roots in Virginia’s still-divided communities, so the reportage is unsurprisingly solid, and the depths and repercussions of the story he discovered are startling. The author takes the time to put the history of organ transplants and their various failures and successes into context before he arrives at the pivotal event of his narrative. In May 1968, African American factory worker Bruce Tucker fell off a brick wall and fractured his skull. Brought to the Medical College of Virginia’s emergency room, Tucker was found to have suffered a grave injury. This caught the attention of Drs. David Hume and Richard Lower, who made the decision to take Tucker’s heart and transplant it into Joseph Klett, a white businessman with severe heart disease. From here, the story morphs into something of a sociological mystery. Tucker’s family discovered his organs were missing at the funeral home, dogged reporters attempted to chase down the facts, and hospital staff and administrators wrestled with the ethics of what they had done. There was also a hotly contested legal battle that emerged when Tucker’s family sued the hospital, igniting a face-off between Jack Russell, known for “defending physicians named in medical malpractice suits,” and Doug Wilder, the Tucker family’s attorney and “one of the best-known African American trial lawyers practicing in the state capital.” This is a powerful story that examines institutional racism, mortality, medical ethics, and the nature of justice for black men living in the American South. The author also offers two chilling codas, one involving the discovery of a mass grave and the other chronicling his search for Tucker’s son some 50 years later.A moving exploration of an unthinkable trespass against an innocent man.
Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Jeter Publishing/Gallery Books
Review Posted Online: April 26, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020
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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.
The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.
“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.
Pub Date: April 20, 2021
Page Count: 184
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021
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by Bonnie Tsui ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2020
An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.
A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.
For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.
Pub Date: April 14, 2020
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020
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