A challenging and ultimately optimistic game plan for dealing with chronic pain; important reading for sufferers.




A debut book offers an unconventional approach to long-term pain management and relief.

Ennis, a psychiatrist with a 25-year career in treating chronic pain, opens his revelatory book with a stark declaration: “I am in pain every day, all day.” As the author points out, he’s able to explore the subject of long-term chronic pain from both sides of the equation: as a medical professional who continually deals with the issue and as a victim of the phenomenon itself. Therefore, he has a deep perspective on the often maddening, day-to-day reality of chronic pain sufferers, who are often forced to wonder: Must they simply resign themselves to being “burned at the stake” of their pain, or can they find a way to surmount it? In clear, accessible prose, Ennis proposes a strategy: a multistep process of self-hypnosis that he describes after grounding the narrative by telling his own story of living with chronic pain. He presents readers with comprehensive, readable histories of the study of pain and the development of the most popular weapon to address it: opioids. In his analysis of these potent drugs, Ennis remains unflinching. He rigorously examines the supposed efficacy of most opioids in alleviating chronic pain and finds them overprescribed and under-effective—and extremely risky, considering the serious nature of their side effects. Self-hypnosis, he contends repeatedly, has no side effects. The book’s central idea—that highly stressed and sometimes desperate sufferers of chronic pain must reject their impulses to reach for chemical solutions—is so revolutionary as to seem almost counterintuitive in the current age of both unprecedented opioid prescription and unparalleled  abuse of those drugs. Ennis very effectively buttresses his advocacy for a more internal, mental method by threading the whole subject through his vast personal history as both doctor and patient. As a result, the ultimate case he makes is powerfully convincing. In forceful, unambiguous prose, the author clarifies exactly what hypnosis is and isn’t and then enumerates the steps of using it as a means of pain relief in either professionally administered sessions or ones that are conducted independently. It’s difficult to argue with Ennis’ assessment of the comparative superiority of his approach to the rote prescription of opioids. But even objections that might be raised are sidelined by the indisputable fact that the core of the technique presented here—controlling breathing, cultivating inner calm, conceptualizing the pain—should help sufferers regardless of their success or failure with self-hypnosis. The book’s underlying tone is one of hope, which is something sufferers often find is in short supply when coping with their health problems. Ennis’ own story underscores the need for such hope.

A challenging and ultimately optimistic game plan for dealing with chronic pain; important reading for sufferers.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-981849-53-6

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Barlow Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?

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


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

Did you like this book?