A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

THE SURGEON'S APPRENTICE

This second installment of a three-volume memoir focuses on a man’s years in medical school and his postgraduate specialty training in England and Scotland.

Case entered medical school in 1955 in Sheffield, England, a city known for its steel industry. It was the beginning of a 15-year journey that ultimately would land him in Alberta, Canada. Evidencing a remarkable ability to recall details, the author shares his classroom and clinical experiences as well as the lighter adventures of student life. Short, lively anecdotes related to youthful antics and friends and comprehensive descriptions of his multitude of residences over the years offer respite from longer sections that depict dissections and specific medical procedures, such as the first time he assisted in brain surgery. Although the portrayal of this particular incident is perhaps a bit too graphic for lay readers, it does include a surprising insider tidbit: “After a couple of hours, partway through the procedure, we stopped briefly for tea and biscuits.” Medical school was a six-year stint—“three years of preclinical studies were followed by three years of clinical study during which we learnt to apply the knowledge we had obtained to treat living patients.” And this was followed by a series of appointments to a vast spectrum of specialty departments. While Case had decided that he definitely wanted to be a surgeon, he also sought to accrue substantial experience in all of the medical disciplines in order to be prepared to practice his specialty in a rural area where a doctor had to be ready for anything. American readers, accustomed to titles such as student, intern, and resident, will likely need time to acclimate to the British terms for these positions. Surgeons, for example, held the title mister rather than doctor, a reference to their origins as barber-surgeons. Case’s genial prose, peppered with occasional 1960s- and ’70s-relevant social commentary, reveals his tender, compassionate attitude toward his patients. But it is encumbered by the author’s extensive use of medical terminology, which slows the story’s pace and makes many sections tough going for a general audience.

A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4195-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more