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CRY BLOODY MURDER

A TALE OF TAINTED BLOOD

With estimable dignity, a mother recounts the horrendous tragedy her family suffered when, due to the scandalous indifference of certain pharmaceutical companies, the medicines her sons used became deadly poisons. This modern horror narrative is all the more shocking because every word is true. With simple eloquence and understandable anger, but never indulging in morbid self-pity, DePrince tells of her five sons (three adopted), all of whom suffered from hemophilia. For years, the DePrince children's painful internal hemorrhaging was controlled with clotting factor, a medication distilled from the pooled blood of thousands of donors. In the early 1980s, HIV from some donors contaminated clotting factor, converting into a lethal toxin the very medicine that had freed families from the scourge of hemophilia. As a result, an estimated 8,000 hemophiliacs and many spouses of hemophiliacs, not to mention many recipients of blood transfusions, became infected with HIV. Two of the DePrince children, Cubby and Mike, died from AIDS. DePrince describes such moving and profound scenes as 11-year-old Cubby stoically preparing for death, comforting his grieving family and friends, and keeping a journal of his thoughts as life painfully slips away. Ably interweaving her personal tale with the medical story of how clotting factor was developed, DePrince informs us as well of the most horrific aspect of the catastrophe: A process developed in Germany to inactivate hepatitis in clotting factor also proved effective in destroying HIV, but it was passed up by various American pharmaceutical companies in favor of a cheaper method that left HIV intact. The author details the legal actions she and others have taken to obtain justice for the thousands of needless deaths. While inspiring the reader through the DePrince family's saga of fortitude, Cry Bloody Murder presents as well an effective, concise introduction to the science, business, and legal issues defining the hemophilia/HIV catastrophe.

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-45676-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997

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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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