A vigorous and memorable primer on heightening awareness to prevent or counter danger.

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SPOTTING DANGER BEFORE IT SPOTS YOU

BUILD SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO STAY SAFE

A federal air marshal offers a guide to observing and evaluating your surroundings.

Quesenberry’s nonfiction debut draws on his 19 years of experience as an air marshal, a job that gives him “a first-class ticket into the world of covert surveillance, surveillance detection, and self-defense.” In hundreds of settings, he has been the person paid and expected to know what’s going on and to anticipate and counter any potential dangers. By contrast, as he quite rightly points out, most people relax themselves into a false sense of security by thinking “nothing will ever happen here” or “that would never happen to me.” But even the author’s cursory listing of some of the 21st century’s worst outbreaks of terrorist violence all over the world should make it clear to readers that they can no longer afford such attitudes—they must take a large part of their safety into their own hands. Quesenberry’s aim in his book is not only to change those attitudes, but also to arm readers with the basic perception shifts that will help them guard their own well-being. The foremost of these is “situational awareness,” which the author describes as “the ability to identify and process environmental cues to accurately predict the actions of others.” The adverb is crucial: Readers are gently admonished to discard their reflexive prejudices and assumptions and “identify and process” what they’re actually seeing in any environment (as the author points out, preset perceptions can sometimes blind a person to reality). In quick, sharply paced chapters full of well-chosen anecdotes and bulleted points, Quesenberry instructs readers on how to expand their awareness of the people and things in their immediate area, how to assume an aggressive mindset in order to anticipate how actual predators think, and even the basics of one-on-one self-defense. Much of what the author relates is elementary in nature—travel advisories all over the world urge some variation of situational awareness—but the clarity of this manual makes it stand out.

A vigorous and memorable primer on heightening awareness to prevent or counter danger.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59439-737-0

Page Count: 220

Publisher: YMAA Publication Center

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

HEALING OUR VILLAGE

A SELF-CARE GUIDE TO DIABETES CONTROL

Self-help guide for diabetes sufferers, mostly in question-and-answer format, with an emphasis on helping racial and ethnic minority diabetics.

Coleman is a pharmacist with a doctorate in her specialty, Gavin a Ph.D. and M.D. Aside from acknowledgments and a foreword signed by Gavin alone, their voices and expertise are indistinguishable, offering lucid, simple solutions for diabetes patients. Gavin relates watching his great-grandmother endure debilitating pain as a result of diabetes while he visited her as a youngster. He remembers hearing adults mention that sugar killed her, and he wondered how something that tasted sweet could cause so much harm. As an adult, he realized that his great-grandmother's affliction could be controlled through treatment. The authors focus on Type 2 diabetes, the most common form in minority populations. An estimated 18.2 million Americans are diabetic, with perhaps 5 million unaware of their situation. About 11 percent of U.S. diabetics are African-American, and about 8 percent are Latino. The question-and-answer format begins with an overview section about diabetes, with an emphasis on risk factors. Section Two covers management of the disease, including nutrition, exercise, blood-testing, oral medications and insulin use. In addition, the authors continually recommend smoking cessation, as well as instructing patients on the readiness of self-treatment. Section Three explains the complications—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease—that could arise if the condition remains untreated or treated ineffectively. The questions in all of the sections are worded simply, and the answers are usually free of medical jargon. Though the sudden shifts in tone and voice are occasionally jarring, the writing remains clear enough to distill the facts. The real downside here, though: patronizing, laughable illustrations that degrade the overall product.

Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2004

ISBN: 0-9746948-0-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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