An exquisite—and often exquisitely depressing—patchwork of joy and pain.

READ REVIEW

TWELVE PATIENTS

LIFE AND DEATH AT BELLEVUE HOSPITAL

Captivating samplings of one doctor’s tour of duty inside the country’s oldest and perhaps most illustrious public hospital.

As the “oldest hospital in the country,” New York’s famous Bellevue Hospital stands strong in the ashes of centuries of illness, death and, indeed, survival. Manheimer started his residency there in 1997, and each of these 12 vignettes coalesces into a humanitarian and heartbreaking tapestry where modern medicine confronts the atrocities of life. The profiles begin with the strife of incarcerated Mexican mobster Juan Guerra, admitted to the prison health unit with a neck swollen with cancerous tumors, the same type of carcinoma the author was battling at the same time. Other chapters introduce patients like Tanisha, a Dominican-Haitian teenager who was abandoned at birth and had ricocheted for years through an overburdened foster-care system; a recovering drug addict; an undocumented factory worker with a failing heart caused by debilitating Chagas disease; an obese woman requiring a C-section; and a homeless schizophrenic. As harrowing as the stories of the patients is the chronicle of Manheimer’s own arduous battle with cancer. Sampling three decades of the doctor’s tenure as medical director, the book offers desperate glimpses into the unfortunate lives of the sick, the injured and the dying, yet the author never relinquishes his hold on hope, however fleeting. Manheimer’s unflinching reportage of his patients, the country’s fractured health care system, irresponsible food manufacturers and hospital politics is authoritatively written, though not recommended for the medically squeamish.

An exquisite—and often exquisitely depressing—patchwork of joy and pain.

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4555-0388-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more