A book that makes a convincing health care case, supported by extensive footnotes and references to scientific journals.

The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments

THE BEST AND WORST STRATEGIES FOR BECOMING PAIN FREE

A comprehensive, impeccably researched debut handbook that focuses on alternative treatments for chronic pain.

Perlin, a licensed clinical social worker and the former president of the Northeast Regional Biofeedback Society, runs an Albany, New York–area practice. Her primary concern is for the estimated 116 million Americans affected by chronic pain, whose treatment costs upward of $560 billion per year. She writes that she believes that current pharmaceutical treatments are sometimes ineffective and that alternative methods are “actively suppressed by the medical establishment.” Drug manufacturers, she says, can hide side effects; she also says that there might be funding bias, noting that the wealthy Mayo Clinic refuted Nobel Prize–winner Linus Pauling’s findings regarding vitamin C’s role in fighting cancer. The book starts by discussing some well-known treatment options—opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain injections—but quickly branches into less-obvious territory. In comparison to pharmaceuticals, the author says, mind/body treatments are safe, cheap, and effective. Yet promising alternatives that might mitigate back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress disorder—such as massage, nutrition, herbs, exercise, acupuncture, energy healing, laser therapy, and even marijuana—are barely on the radars of doctors or insurance companies, Perlin laments. All too often, she says, they’re dismissed as placebos, and chiropractic and homeopathy, in particular, attract negative publicity. To counter these rejections, Perlin includes an invaluable section called “Research Results” after describing each treatment type, providing details of relevant evidence-based studies that suggest health benefits. She also addresses potential side effects and gives helpful statistics and case studies—some featuring famous people, such as singer Michael Jackson and President John F. Kennedy—to show the range of experiences that people have had. The book concludes on a daring note, proposing a Pain Treatment Parity Act that would require insurers to cover all credible pain treatments equally, not just pharmaceuticals. Readers who are suffering and in need of instant solutions may not want to wade through all the research and industry information in this book. However, its all-embracing approach makes it suitable for laymen and health care providers alike.

A book that makes a convincing health care case, supported by extensive footnotes and references to scientific journals.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9966862-0-4

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Morning Light Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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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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