A heartwarming account of risk-taking, iconoclastic doctors who achieved extraordinary cardiovascular breakthroughs and of...

THE HEART HEALERS

THE MISFITS, MAVERICKS, AND REBELS WHO CREATED THE GREATEST MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH OF OUR LIVES

A scientific memoir/biography of the significant achievements of heart doctors through the years.

Forrester (Medicine/UCLA) is the former chief of the division of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai and a recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the American College of Cardiology, so he is more than qualified to tell this story. For most of his subsequent career as director of one of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Centers for Research in Ischemic Heart Disease Center, he has been directly involved in a series of astonishing medical advances. In the early 1990s, he led a team that developed coronary angioscopy, a medical technique for visualizing the interiors of coronary arteries by inserting a flexible catheter directly into the artery. In the 1960s, at the start of his career, the treatment of patients experiencing a heart attack was primitive as compared to today. “More lives were being lost in a single year than in all of World War II,” writes the author. Today, heart disease is surgically treatable and in many instances preventable with the help of diet, exercise, and cholesterol-reducing drugs. Open-heart surgery, the first of the advances he chronicles in the readable, accessible narrative, occurred in 1944. Dwight Harken, at the time a daring battlefield surgeon, performed the first successful open-heart surgery to remove shrapnel. The adaptation of the operation in peacetime involved improved diagnostic tools, including the development of a heart-lung machine. With the new tools and methods, the mortality rate for congenital heart surgery has decreased from 50 percent to 2 percent. Another major milestone, writes Forrester, was the introduction of “coronary artery bypass graft surgery” in 1967. It dramatically reduced angina (pain indicative of a potential heart attack), but as one of his students discovered, it was the suddenness of an occlusion, not gradual blockage, that caused a heart attack. Throughout the book, the author achieves a nice balance of memoir and scientific history.

A heartwarming account of risk-taking, iconoclastic doctors who achieved extraordinary cardiovascular breakthroughs and of the patients who trusted them.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05839-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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