A lucid account of an ongoing war on a changing battlefield with at least the hope of new weapons.

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BATHSHEBA’S BREAST

WOMEN, CANCER AND HISTORY

How perceptions of breast cancer and its treatment have evolved over the centuries, particularly since the advent of the women’s movement.

In what he calls “self-administered psychotherapy” following the loss of his left arm to an epithelial sarcoma, Olson (History/Sam Houston State Univ.) immersed himself in the study of breast cancer’s history. Not only is there a rich body of literature by prominent victims, but the gender dynamics of the disease—invariably female patients treated by generally male doctors—provide a fascinating view of the ways in which culture, politics, and science interact. Stories of individual women’s battles with cancer, ranging from Persian Queen Atossa in the fifth century b.c. to American scientist Jerri Nielson in 20th-century Antarctica, provide a dramatic introduction. Olson then details how views of the disease have altered since the time of Hippocrates, who believed its cause was an excess of black bile in the body, and how treatments have evolved partly as a result of scientific advances and partly through cultural changes. While pre-anesthesia mastectomies seem downright barbaric, the widespread performance in the 1950s of mutilating and debilitating super-radical mastectomies followed by further surgery to remove the ovaries, the pituitary, and the adrenal glands, is no less repulsive. Today, Olson reports, such treatments have been supplanted by far less drastic surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. He recounts how the women’s movement, the pop-culture obsession with breasts, the willingness of some physicians to test alternatives to radical mastectomy, and the development of mammography permitting earlier diagnosis have changed the options available to women with breast cancer. He describes how activists have moved from providing emotional support to breast cancer patients to challenging the medical establishment and lobbying the government for research money and legislative changes affecting insurance coverage. Its stigma disappearing, breast cancer has now moved onto book and magazine covers and into sitcoms.

A lucid account of an ongoing war on a changing battlefield with at least the hope of new weapons.

Pub Date: July 27, 2002

ISBN: 0-8018-6936-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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