The title's challenging question is only one of the many posed in this wide-ranging examination of doctors and the practice of medicine. Lantos, a physician who describes himself as a professional moralist, is asking how recent developments in the delivery of health care change ``what we should think about the proper response to illness and suffering, how we should train the people whom we empower to respond, and how we should shape the institutions that educate those people and deliver those services.'' To explore these questions, Lantos, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago and pediatrician in a hospital for chronically ill children, tells troubling stories from his own experiences. The role of doctors, says Lantos, has always been partly interventionist (diagnosing and treating) and partly interpretive (understanding and explaining the meaning of illness). The interventionist model, he asserts, has won out. The essence of modern medical practice is alienation, disengagement, and ``a weird equanimity in the face of horrific disease.'' Yet while we insist on the physician as scientist, we still yearn in our hearts for the old humanistic model of physician as shaman/healer. Lantos questions whether a single profession can contain these contradictory notions. We may, he says, be witnessing the creation of a new profession ``driven by science, technology, reductionist ethics, and entitlement economics.'' He is not optimistic about the future of medicine, questioning whether some core of morality or belief will persist underneath the transformations that are taking place. Fiction provides some of the most imaginative responses to the question of what we want doctors to be and do, says Lantos, and he concludes by turning to authors Robertson Davies and Walker Percy, among others, for visions of the challenges facing doctors. A disturbing, often painful examination of a profession in transition. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 2, 1997

ISBN: 0-415-91852-9

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Routledge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1997

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


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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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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