An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

NURSES ON THE INSIDE

STORIES OF THE HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC IN NYC

In this debut book, two nurses show how the advent of the HIV infection permanently altered a vulnerable minority and the boundaries of global health care.

Based on actual events in their lives, career clinicians Matzer and Hughes begin their intensive, exquisitely moving narrative at the end of the 1970s in a Manhattan hospital where rapid-onset, opportunistic infections like pneumocystis carinii pneumonia first began immobilizing gay men at alarming rates. From the first hints of a “Gay Cancer” to future milestones in disease developments and pharmaceutical intervention, the authors diligently and compassionately narrate firsthand how a community joined together throughout the ’80s and ’90s to care for the dying, to inspire solidarity through candlelight vigils, to extinguish stigma and shame, and to fight for the right to die with dignity. With seamless ease, the book’s timeline smoothly oscillates back and forth from Matzer’s and Hughes’ historical trajectories through their grueling nursing school years into their close friendship and essential work with AIDS patients. Supplementing this poignant chronicle are reflections from both authors on the positive and negative aspects of that indelible era. As an open lesbian who was closeted when the epidemic began, Hughes remarks that she used to view the entire period of death and disease “through my identity as a gay woman, but lately, I think I have viewed it as a New Yorker. I felt that way especially after 9/11.” For lay readers, clinical footnotes are sprinkled throughout, offering explanations and specific terminology on disease symptoms and medical procedures. Structured in an intensely personalized manner with heartfelt prose and intimate, exacting details, the work ushers readers right into the authors’ AIDS ward, where sick men and women lay dying, at the mercy of homophobia and cruel bias, as disease researchers rushed to demystify and mitigate the medical carnage while perplexed politicians vacillated. The book is also a touching tribute to the resilience of a community; its unified, unconditional allies; and the human kindness that continues to interconnect everyone in times of horrific atrocities. “Despite all the bullshit that happens,” Matzer declares, “most of us come together when we need to.”        

An accessible, universal, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching AIDS chronicle.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951072-01-8

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Tree District Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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