A powerful, highly personal chronicle of a doctor’s feverish rush to find a cure for the disease that afflicts him.

CHASING MY CURE

A DOCTOR'S RACE TO TURN HOPE INTO ACTION

A Pennsylvania physician races to find a cure for his rare illness.

In this moving memoir, Fajgenbaum (Medicine/Univ. of Pennsylvania) details his harrowing bout with a rare disorder called Castleman disease, which invades lymph node tissue and systematically wreaks havoc on major organ function. He amiably describes his early days on medical school rotations nervously fumbling through infant deliveries and delivering proactive patient care. As the son of an extroverted orthopedic surgeon, expectations were high, and there was a lot of ground to cover in a field he pursued with “reckless intensity” after his beloved mother succumbed to cancer when he was a teenager. Throughout the book, Fajgenbaum writes with consistent urgency and great emotion about how his mother’s illness inspired his future livelihood: “I was impaled by my mother’s death,” he writes. While in medical school, he noticed his energy flagging and a group of troubling symptoms, including skin lumps and severe abdominal pain. After more than a month of inconclusive tests and near-fatal conditions, Fajgenbaum remained without a diagnosis but suddenly began temporarily stabilizing. Doctors finally reached a determination of Castleman disease, which carried an uncertain and possibly fatal prognosis. The author, a former weight lifter and Georgetown quarterback, recognized this personal health conundrum as a challenge he was more than prepared to tackle. As he began dedicating his medical career to unlocking the mysteries of the disease, his research and his work with other sufferers would also teach him about hope, about his capacities and limitations as a doctor, and about the “often unfair disconnect between the best that science can offer and our fragile longevity.” Offering a distinctively uncommon perspective on disease and doctoring, Fajgenbaum also writes earnestly and frankly about the unique brand of humility one must accept as a medicinal healer with a mysterious, possibly deadly malady.

A powerful, highly personal chronicle of a doctor’s feverish rush to find a cure for the disease that afflicts him.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9961-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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

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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

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