Clarity and compassion unite in this touching and convincing new conversation on comfortable, patient-centered end-of-life...

READ REVIEW

EXTREME MEASURES

FINDING A BETTER PATH TO THE END OF LIFE

End-stage patient suffering and distress inspire an early-career watershed moment for a sympathetic physician.

Zitter’s impassioned advocacy for increased palliative awareness in modern medical establishments is both immediate and heartfelt. She notes that both doctors and patients have a tendency to ignore death, and this often “fuels a tremendous amount of suffering.” Her own enlightenment began during her medical internship, when she harbored serious second thoughts about her career choice (her father was a neurosurgeon) after being “dumbstruck by this Armageddon” of critically ill patients throughout her first years in trauma medicine. “I have rehearsed for the wrong performance,” she thought during a crisis of conscience. After much soul-searching, Zitter moved in a new professional direction, focusing on compassionate palliative care rather than treating pain as an “on–off switch.” The often wrenching, emotionally resonant patient cases she shares illuminate an urgent need for medical communities to more uniformly embrace standards of care that include palliative approaches to terminal patients. Empathy and patient dignity have a tendency to evaporate amid a hard-core push to medically prolong life without humane consideration for a patient’s eroded quality of life. Zitter describes the origins of palliative care as well as her somewhat steep learning curve adjusting to a holistic care approach. She also addresses issues of physician burnout, the delicate politics of do-not-resuscitate orders, and the challenging time sensitivity of communicating terminal prognoses. Her affecting narrative is also educative, as the author aims to create a paradigm shift in terminal patient treatment and steer medical trends and attitudes about death and dying toward a more sympathetic perspective and one that will eventually consider it “unacceptable to practice without considering the patient’s needs above all else.” A list of useful resources and Zitter’s six-step approach to one’s own final health care choices serve as fitting codas.

Clarity and compassion unite in this touching and convincing new conversation on comfortable, patient-centered end-of-life care.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-98255-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more