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

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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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Necessary for every home, school, and public library.

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SHOUT

“This is the story of a girl who lost her voice and wrote herself a new one.”

The award-winning author, who is also a rape survivor, opens up in this powerful free-verse memoir, holding nothing back. Part 1 begins with her father’s lifelong struggle as a World War II veteran, her childhood and rape at 13 by a boy she liked, the resulting downward spiral, her recovery during a year as an exchange student in Denmark, and the dream that gave her Melinda, Speak’s (1999) protagonist. Part 2 takes readers through her journey as a published author and National Book Award finalist. She recalls some of the many stories she’s heard during school visits from boys and girls who survived rape and sexual abuse and calls out censorship that has prevented some speaking engagements. In Part 3, she wraps up with poems about her family roots. The verse flows like powerful music, and Anderson's narrative voice is steady and direct: “We should teach our girls / that snapping is OK, / instead of waiting / for someone else to break them.” The poems range in length from a pair of two-line stanzas to several pages. Readers new to Anderson will find this accessible. It’s a strong example of how lived experience shapes art and an important book for the #MeToo movement.

Necessary for every home, school, and public library. (resources) (Verse memoir. 13-adult)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-670-01210-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Conversational, sometimes playful—not the sort of book that would survive vetting by school-system censors these days, but a...

A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD

A lovely, lively historical survey that takes in Neanderthals, Hohenzollerns and just about everything in between.

In 1935, Viennese publisher Walter Neurath approached Gombrich, who would go on to write the canonical, bestselling Story of Art, to translate a history textbook for young readers. Gombrich volunteered that he could do better than the authors, and Neurath accepted the challenge, provided that a completed manuscript was on his desk in six weeks. This book, available in English for the first time, is the happy result. Gombrich is an engaging narrator whose explanations are charming if sometimes vague. (Take the kid-friendly definition of truffles: “Truffles,” he says, “are a very rare and special sort of mushroom.” End of lesson.) Among the subjects covered are Julius Caesar (who, Gombrich exults, was able to dictate two letters simultaneously without getting confused), Charlemagne, the American Civil War, Karl Marx, the Paris Commune and Kaiser Wilhelm. As he does, he offers mostly gentle but pointed moralizing about the past, observing, for instance, that the Spanish conquest of Mexico required courage and cunning but was “so appalling, and so shaming to us Europeans that I would rather not say anything more about it,” and urging his young readers to consider that perhaps not all factory owners were as vile as Marx portrayed them to be, even though the good owners “against their conscience and their natural instincts, often found themselves treating their workers in the same way”—which is to say, badly.

Conversational, sometimes playful—not the sort of book that would survive vetting by school-system censors these days, but a fine conception and summarizing of the world’s checkered past for young and old.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2005

ISBN: 0-300-10883-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

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