A rather grandiose self-assessment that may appeal to someone whose life has been saved by the Heimlich maneuver—not likely...

HEIMLICH'S MANEUVERS

MY SEVENTY YEARS OF LIFESAVING INNOVATION

A self-promoting memoir from the inventor of the abdominal thrust technique that bears his name.

A retired thoracic surgeon, Heimlich launches into his prideful narrative by relating how he faced and overcame anti-Semitism early in his career; how, as a 21-year-old camp counselor, he saved the life of a man trapped in a train wreck; and how, as a young medical officer in the U.S. Navy, he saved the sight of many Chinese soldiers by medicating their eyes with a concoction he invented. Some years after the war, Heimlich, working with dogs, developed a reverse gastric tube procedure that replaced or bypassed the esophagus, thus enabling patients with damaged ones to swallow (the author credits Romanian doctor Dan Gavriliu, who independently developed a similar procedure). Later, he designed a drainage mechanism with a flutter valve that prevented fluids or air from returning to the chest after surgery and an unobtrusive oxygen delivery device for patients with breathing problems. His best known achievement, however, is the Heimlich maneuver, a simple emergency technique that forces air out of the lungs of a choking person, enabling an object lodged in the airway to be expelled. This technique, writes the author, is also effective for treating asthma and victims of drowning. His ideas have not been universally accepted, and he is still battling with the Red Cross over its recommendation to first try back slaps on choking victims. Heimlich’s claim that malariotherapy (injections of malaria-infected blood) can be an effective treatment of HIV/AIDS patients has also met with opposition. Heimlich’s plainly written memoir, replete with pictures of himself and anecdotes featuring him with grateful patients, is not just a personal story but a sharp criticism of a medical system that he sees as too slow to accept or at least research controversial new ideas.

A rather grandiose self-assessment that may appeal to someone whose life has been saved by the Heimlich maneuver—not likely to reach a wider readership.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61614-849-2

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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