Doubly moving in light of Relin’s own untimely death.



The tortuous route of two intrepid eye doctors, one Nepalese, one American, in their journey to eradicate preventable blindness in the Himalayas.

Journalist and co-author of another inspiring story of humanitarian accomplishment, the best-seller Three Cups of Tea, Relin, who died last year, pursued the two founders of the Himalayan Cataract Project, over several years as they established their partnership and shared mission. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepalese-born ophthalmologist, was profoundly unsettled by the high rates of preventable blindness in Nepal and returned to apply advanced techniques in microscope-directed cataract surgery he had gained under unconventional Australian eye doctor Fred Hollows. Modeling his eye-care mission for the legions of rural poor on Hollows’ groundbreaking work among the Aboriginal population, Ruit pioneered the use of mobile units and surgical camps in Nepal’s underserved rural areas to bring quick and efficient cataract surgery to the many poor people whose lives were ruined by preventable blindness. Attracting talented doctors from all over the world, notably the hyperactive mountaineer and Harvard-educated ophthalmologist Geoffrey Tabin, Ruit ignored his critics, who claimed the facilities were unsanitary or too costly to maintain, mastering the delicate surgery in an average of four minutes per patient, at a fraction of Western costs. Along with charitable funds from USAID and others, Tilganga, launched in 1992, expanded in 2009 and became self-sustaining by producing intraocular lenses; it has continued to thrive despite Maoist insurgency and massacre within the royal Nepalese family in 2001. The author, who evidently became a favorite of the doctors, even assisting in the hospitals, fashions a detailed, heartfelt account of the work of these dedicated pioneers.

Doubly moving in light of Relin’s own untimely death.

Pub Date: June 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6925-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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 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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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