A simple but solid introduction to the history of medicine.




Science writer Hellman (Beyond Your Senses, 1997) chronicles ten important medical advances with emphasis on the struggle and bitterness that accompanied each.

Beginning in the 17th century with William Harvey’s frustrating effort to persuade his colleagues that blood circulates, the narrative closes in the 1980s, relating the scandalous dispute between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier over who discovered the AIDS virus. Only one chapter concerns a genuine scientific feud (the lifetime quarrel between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin over the superiority of injectable versus oral polio vaccine); the others recount the noisy contention that accompanies a controversial new idea. All these ideas eventually triumphed, but the speed of their victory depended less on evidence than the personality of the scientist who discovered them. Pugnacious Louis Pasteur loved a fight and generally won by a knockout. Freud never convinced his enemies in the medical profession, who are still denouncing him; his triumph lay in convincing everyone else who mattered, so much so that Freudian analysis became an icon for 20th-century intellectuals. Hellman’s rather schematic history revels in heroes and villains, and he occasionally falls into the trap of portraying historical figures who were wrong as stupider or more narrow-minded than those who were right, so sophisticated readers should look elsewhere. Yet the author avoids most clichés of popular science writing and has clearly read every secondary source. He often reviews works of other historians to illustrate how opinion has changed over the years, pointing out that even Pasteur has been charged with cooking his results and that feminists accuse James Watson and Francis Crick not only of looking down their noses at Rosalind Franklin but of stealing her data to make the model of the DNA molecule that won them the Nobel Prize.

A simple but solid introduction to the history of medicine.

Pub Date: March 9, 2001

ISBN: 0-471-34757-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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