Credit McNeil for a succinct summary of Zika to date, but be forewarned: this is a fast-breaking story, and the last word...

Frightening words on the Zika virus from a reliable source: a New York Times science reporter who has covered virulent global infections for decades.

McNeil notes that the mosquito-borne Zika virus was first isolated from a monkey in Uganda’s Zika Forest in 1947 but had probably circulated in Africa for ages, rendering many immune. Sporadic cases subsequently occurred in Africa, but by the 1960s, it had moved to Asia and crossed to Pacific islands, causing outbreaks in Micronesia in 2007 and in Tahiti in 2013, where the first cases of Guillain-Barré paralysis were noted. Though the situation was serious, there were no reports of microcephaly. The virus continued its progression around the world, landing in Brazil in 2015, where the first cases of microcephaly were documented. Why the epidemic appeared in Brazil remains a mystery, but there is no mystery about the havoc the virus causes. Scores of laboratories have established that the virus kills developing brain cells, leading to microcephaly or to blindness, deafness, and other devastation. The virus is also found in abundance in semen, so not only is there a risk of Zika infection from a mosquito bite to a pregnant woman, but infection can also occur through intercourse. The race is on, McNeil relates, to fathom how the virus causes its damage and to develop treatments and ultimately a vaccine. Of course, that could be a long process, hence the issuance of government guidelines on using repellants, destroying standing water sources, and using condoms. The author rightly takes to task delays by health agencies and the World Health Organization in issuing advisories—caused by fears of offending sovereign nations and the Roman Catholic Church, effects on tourism, and so on—and he ends the text with a useful Q-and-A addressing current knowledge as of June 2016.

Credit McNeil for a succinct summary of Zika to date, but be forewarned: this is a fast-breaking story, and the last word has yet to come, including how Zika will affect the American population as it journeys north.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-393-60914-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2016



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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