A lively account of how scientists worked for years to tame tuberculosis—only to find the disease rebounding with increased virulence as drug-resistant strains developed and as the emergence of the AIDS virus triggered a surge in deadly TB infections. Ryan (a fellow of the UK's Royal Academy of Physicians), pays homage to the men of science who conquered TB, one of humanity's oldest plagues and a killer of a billion people during the past two centuries alone. He recounts at length and in detail the lives of those whose work led to the discovery of the drugs used to treat TB. We see RenÇ Dubos, for instance, searching diligently for antibiotics among soil microorganisms at N.Y.C.'s Rockefeller Institute while his young wife is dying of TB at a sanitorium miles away, and we watch Gerhard Domagk working doggedly on sulphonamides under horrendous conditions in war-torn Germany and then being forced by the Nazis to turn down the Nobel Prize. Ryan's style often is highly charged: Tuberculosis is ``the greatest killer in history''; scientific discoveries are greeted with ``incandescent excitement''; AIDS is a ``new phantasmagoria of terror.'' Meanwhile, personal tragedies and triumphs make up the first three-quarters of the book, but the real message lies in the finale: Although an entire generation in the West has grown up with little knowledge of, or experience with, TB, the disease is making a comeback, this time as a superbug, resistant to every drug. If action is not taken quickly, the results of the present epidemic will be, in Ryan's words, ``apocalyptic.'' Dramatic, sometimes even melodramatic, writing in the historical parts may heighten the book's appeal to some, but it lessens the credibility of the genuine alarm being sounded in the conclusion. (Twenty-four b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: June 23, 1993

ISBN: 0-316-76380-2

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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