An engrossing, entertaining history of medicine for those who enjoy it told with a heavy dose of blood and guts.

BLEED, BLISTER, PUKE, AND PURGE

THE DIRTY SECRETS BEHIND EARLY AMERICAN MEDICINE

This frequently gruesome history of American medicine, from the Colonial era to the late 1800s, makes a convincing case that the worst thing a sick person could do is seek medical treatment; it could very well be lethal.

In the Colonial era, the word “physician” was used far more loosely than it is today. “At the time of the American Revolution, only 400 out of the approximately 3,500 practicing physicians held medical degrees,” and those degrees could be purchased without need of apprenticeships or formal education. Education and training standards improved in the decades to come, but methods remained stubbornly primitive as the profession was slow to recognize new discoveries and adopt new approaches. In grimly vivid detail, Younker describes such common practices as amputation, bleeding, leeching, purging, trepanning, and uroscopy. She also introduces influential, notable, and infamous practitioners of the times: Samuel Morton, a phrenology enthusiast and collector of skulls; John Morgan and William Shippen, who co-founded the first Colonial medical school in Philadelphia; Thomas Dent Mütter and his vast collection of medical curiosities; and Benjamin Rush, a proponent of extreme bloodletting.

An engrossing, entertaining history of medicine for those who enjoy it told with a heavy dose of blood and guts. (photos, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942186-328

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

DISCOVERING WES MOORE

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style....

GRAMMAR GIRL PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE WRITING GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

As she does in previous volumes—Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (2008) and The Grammar Devotional (2009)—Fogarty affects an earnest and upbeat tone to dissuade those who think a grammar book has to be “annoying, boring, and confusing” and takes on the role of “grammar guide, intent on demystifying grammar.”

Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style. Fogarty works hard to find amusing, even cheeky examples to illustrate the many faux pas she discusses: "Squiggly presumed that Grammar Girl would flinch when she saw the word misspelled as alot." Young readers may well look beyond the cheery tone and friendly cover, though, and find a 300+-page text that looks suspiciously schoolish and isn't really that different from the grammar texts they have known for years (and from which they have still not learned a lot of grammar). As William Strunk said in his introduction to the first edition of the little The Elements of Style, the most useful grammar guide concentrates attention “on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” After that, “Students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work.” By being exhaustive, Fogarty may well have created just the kind of volume she hoped to avoid.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8943-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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