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.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)