Health & Medicine Book Reviews (page 211)

Released: May 18, 1992

"With its sweep, perception, originality, and felicitous use of language—an artistic and intellectual achievement."
Helman—professor of medicine (University College, London), family physician, and cultural historian—draws on his wide-ranging interests to offer a vivid, personable, and insightful exploration of physiology and fiction—of the interaction of the objective functioning of the human body and the subjective experience of it, as well as of the political analogues and social metaphors it inspires in both historic and contemporary terms. Read full book review >
Released: May 12, 1992

"Sheehy's book will be a bible for them—and hopefully for the doctors who treat them."
A compelling discussion about menopause, packed with facts and anecdotes that are right on target for the baby-boom women about to encounter change of life. Read full book review >

Released: May 11, 1992

An impressively researched, authoritative, and absolutely mind-boggling survey of ``the transformative capacities of human nature.'' As to be expected from a co-founder of California's Esalen Institute, the emphasis here is very much on mind-body phenomena, with the focus on individuals who apparently have extended the usual reach of human possibility—saints, mystics, psychics, artists, geniuses, etc. Drawing on an astonishing array of eyewitness accounts, scientific studies, biographies, letters, monographs, etc., Murphy rigorously organizes his vast material into three categories: ``Possibilities for Extraordinary Life''; ``Transformative Practices''; and ``Evidence for Human Transformative Capacity.'' In the last category, for example, he discusses and documents placebo effects, spiritual healing, hypnosis, ``somatic'' disciplines such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method, yogic powers, the charismas of saints, etc. All this fascinating if sometimes sensational information does serve a purpose, of course—to illuminate the author's ``central observations and proposals,'' e.g., that ``the evidence for extraordinary human attributes strongly supports some sort of penentheism....the doctrine that Divinity is both immanent and transcendent to the universe.'' Whatever one thinks of Murphy's conclusions, even a casual dipping into his text, which will no doubt become a primary source for future mind-body investigation, will reveal a world of inspiring wonders. Read full book review >
Released: May 8, 1992

Writer and New York Times book critic Broyard died of cancer in 1990. Read full book review >
Released: May 6, 1992

"Inspiring documentation showing that motivated and organized patients can make a difference. (Fifteen b&w photographs—not seen.)"
How AIDS activists changed the way new drugs are developed, and why the biomedical establishment may never be the same again. Read full book review >

Released: May 1, 1992

"A superb guidebook to issues most of us would rather not think about—but should."
A practical primer on how to safeguard your right to make your own decisions about medical care. Read full book review >
LONGEVITY by Kathy Keeton
Released: May 1, 1992

"Keeton promises more than she delivers, but her enthusiasm about the possibilities of living longer, healthier lives will keep readers turning pages in search of the magic bullet against the ills of aging."
An optimistic report on what's going on in scientific research on aging, by the publisher of Longevity magazine. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1992

"Some may find all this amusing and bracingly accurate about the realities of a contemporary mother's life; others may experience it as ultimately somewhat depressing."
From Zarnow (Husband is the Past Tense of Daddy, 1991), short essays that celebrate the small joys and rue the trials of days spent taking care of the house, doing the family chores, and tending three small kids. ``My family is ordinary, my children are generic, and out of 31 possible flavors my life is vanilla,'' Zarnow avows in her preface. Read full book review >
Released: April 20, 1992

"We can not yet, and perhaps never will, eliminate philosophy or psychology from the discussion."
``Strenuous'' is how Nobelist (Physiology or Medicine, 1972) Edelman describes the difficulties readers will encounter as they ply their way through yet another texty analysis of what it means to be a mind. Read full book review >
AGAINST EXCESS by Mark A.R. Kleiman
Released: April 19, 1992

"Lucid, learned, free of polemic—a must for anyone wishing a clear view of the strident national debate on drug policy."
A closely reasoned and authoritative analysis of US drug policy. Read full book review >
Released: April 8, 1992

"Replete with anecdotal material, this offers few new insights but does lay out issues of development that only adoptees face over the course of life."
A rather thin volume that nevertheless will reassure adoptees that it is usual for questions about adoption and birth parents to persist throughout life. Read full book review >
Released: April 6, 1992

"A fascinating if incomplete look at a 20th-century Renaissance man. (Twenty-five photographs—not seen.)"
Best known as the chemist who first synthesized the steroid oral contraceptive popularly called ``the Pill,'' Djerassi (Chemistry/Stanford; the novel Cantor's Dilemma, 1989, etc.), now 68, demonstrates once again that he's no white-coated specialist working in isolation in a lab but a colorful, even eccentric and sometimes self-indulgent man of the world—one who's got chutzpah and a sense of humor and who's deeply concerned with social issues. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >