Valuable for medical school students as well as general memoir fans.

MEMOIRS OF A NEUROSURGEON

A PERSPECTIVE FROM THE "LUCKY FEW" GENERATION

In his debut memoir, a retired neurosurgeon reflects on medical history, his varied career and personal matters.

Geissinger, schooled in the third generation of neurosurgery, came of age in the mid-1950s. His long, often arduous journey led to his successful practice and eventual teaching of neurosurgery. Here, the author is firmly entrenched in the past, and his appreciation of his field’s pioneers is reflected both in the book’s content and tone. The first half of the title is filled with numerous case histories, many of which depict the conditions and procedures during the discipline’s nascent stages. These early practitioners gave the author his healthy perspective on success—something, he maintains, that could benefit modern medical students. The second half of the book veers off its presumed course, when illness pushes Geissinger out of medicine and into careers as a rancher and furniture maker. Eventually, an opportunity arises to reconnect with medicine, this time as an instructor. Geissinger’s memoir appeals on several levels: Medical students will likely find the advice useful, while readers with an interest in neurosurgery will appreciate the book’s focus on pioneering methods. The author’s retired peers will likely relate to stories set during the “golden years.” Furthermore, his approach to this memoir is emblematic of the neurosurgery profession itself: meticulous and sharply compartmentalized. Geissinger painstakingly recounts his many endeavors, including time spent at a ranch “intensely studying the premier bulls to be auctioned off on [a] Saturday morning.” Patient anecdotes, however, would have been much more accessible if indexed by conditions and treatment.

Valuable for medical school students as well as general memoir fans. 

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0984741809

Page Count: 404

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

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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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