An incisive attack on the American Psychiatric Association that cuts to the quick. Walker (Help for the Hyperactive Child, 1978), a neurologist as well as a psychiatrist, contends that few psychiatrists perform the medical detective work necessary to evaluate their patients, but instead assign them a label from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), a catalog of disorders and symptoms published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The DSM, which has undergone increasing scrutiny and controversy in recent years, is not the result of careful scientific research, Walker says, but a constantly changing political document reflecting its APA panel members' personal biases and beliefs. Most psychiatrists, he asserts, do not like the hands-on practice of medicine and are more comfortable assigning a DSM label to a patient's symptoms and then writing a prescription or recommending psychotherapy. They have, in his words, ``replaced the science of diagnosis with the pseudoscience of labeling.'' Psychiatrists who rely on DSM labeling overlook symptoms of actual brain dysfunction that may respond to proper medical treatment, Walker asserts, and he includes numerous examples of patients with brain tumors, Tourette's syndrome, lead poisoning, and other medical problems whose disorders were misdiagnosed and consequently mistreated before they came to him. Besides the harm they do to their patients, he contends, DSM-reliant psychiatrists fall behind the progress being made in other areas of medicine such as genetics, molecular biology, and immunology. Walker blames the APA, which sets the standards for psychiatric training, as well as insurers, psychiatric hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry for fostering a situation in which psychiatrists are not truly acting as doctors, and patients are misdiagnosed and unnecessarily drugged. While urging his colleagues to rebel against the DSM, he offers advice to patients on how to demand proper care. A dose of strong medicine for the psychiatric profession.

Pub Date: May 17, 1996

ISBN: 0-471-14136-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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