Health & Medicine Book Reviews

THE GIRL BEHIND THE DOOR by John Brooks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Brooks explains Casey's disorder and available help in terms that will help anyone struggling with a difficult child. Teachers, analysts, and parents alike can find relief and hope in this book."
In his first book, Brooks shares his search for answers about his adopted daughter and the unknown childhood trauma that drove her to suicide at age 17. Read full book review >
HAIR by Kurt Stenn
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A spirited, informative history of a fascinating fiber."
A hair-follicle scientist offers an edifying look at the biology, physiology, and history of hair. Read full book review >

THE GOOD DEATH by Ann Neumann
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A valuable discussion of the complex issues involved in end-of-life care."
Journalist Neumann, a visiting scholar at the New York University Center for Religion and Media, takes an unflinching look at the reality of dying and end-of-life decisions. Read full book review >
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF THE HUMAN GENOME by Frank Ryan
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An enlightening account of past and present knowledge and the future possibilities of human heredity."
The information revolution in silicon gets the headlines, but a revolution in genetics has been running in parallel and will soon affect our lives even more profoundly. Plenty of authors are paying attention, but British physician and researcher Ryan (Metamorphosis: Unmasking the Mystery of How Life Transforms, 2011, etc.) delivers an up-to-date history that will be definitive—at least for a few years.Read full book review >
FREE REFILLS by Peter Grinspoon
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Grinspoon's story is instructive, with readers potentially learning more than the author has."
The memoir of a doctor whose addiction derailed his career offers flashes of illumination amid clouds of defensiveness and denial. Read full book review >

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE by Matt Haig
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder."
A British novelist turns to autobiography to report the manifold symptoms and management of his debilitating disease, depression. Read full book review >
PANDEMIC by Sonia Shah
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"This is not fun reading, but it's necessary—one can only hope that it drives more effective surveillance and rapid response to tomorrow's plagues."
Vibrio cholerae was once a species of marine bacteria attached to some plankton in the coastal wetlands of the Bay of Bengal. In grim detail, science journalist Shah (The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, 2010, etc.) demonstrates how it became the global source of horrendous deaths and how the story of cholera is paradigmatic of how pandemics happen. Read full book review >
SNOWBALL IN A BLIZZARD by Steven Hatch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Hatch ably reveals the shortcomings of medicine but is less successful in providing guidance for those trying to find their ways through the confusion."
An exploration of the uncertainty that lies at the heart of Western medicine. Read full book review >
HOPE FOR A COOL PILLOW by Margaret Overton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 1, 2016

"A timely, informed contribution to the ongoing debate over our nation's health care policies."
A moving argument for the reform of end-of-life care. Read full book review >
HERDING HEMINGWAY'S CATS by Kat Arney
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"A robust, bouncy, pellucid introduction to DNA and genetics."
A survey of recent research and thinking on genes. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"A useful and educative primer introducing but not elaborating on a new clinical perspective on addiction."
A lucid examination of addiction and treatment from a neurobiological perspective. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"An intriguing exploration of a unique hypothesis with broad implications."
An exploration of the quest for a link between high-functioning autistic individuals and child prodigies, co-authored by mother-daughter team Ruthsatz (Psychology/Ohio State Univ.) and journalist Stephens. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >