A physician's curiosity leads him to a subject oddly underexplored in its own right: the face. British neurophysiologist Cole pursues the link between our faces and our inner selves in a science-minded inquiry that is very much a natural history rather than a cultural one. But it's not strictly scientific, either: Cole's topic lies among questions just out of the confident grasp of science—the nature and relationship of mind and body, of thoughts and feelings, the definition of consciousness itself. Given that, Cole assembles persuasive speculations from his journalistic research among people who either can't perceive facial expressions or can't make them as a result of blindness, autism, disfigurement, or face-impairing Mîbius syndrome, Bell's palsy, and Parkinson's disease. Despite the variety of conditions described in these uniformly heartfelt interviews, his conclusions from them are largely similar: that facial expression exists somewhere pivotal between the mental and the physical, that the face, beyond simply expressing interior states, actually affects the emotional life through its importance in relating to others. The chapters on autistic subjects—for whom the disctinctions between self and others, body and mind and emotion, are strangely ruptured—are powerfully suggestive of the complexity of the face's meaning; but relying heavily, in brief encounters, on the ad hoc personal vocabulary used by subjects to try to explain their experiences, this study remains little more than suggestive. But that's only to say that Cole has initiated an ambitious synthesis, putting the face at the center of various disciplines that touch on it—neurological, psychiatric, evolutionary (he surmises that faces function emotionally in primates' individual relationships as well as humans') that may be taken up by such specialists in response to his impressions. A genial peek—in the mirror, as it were—at the mystery of the self. (13 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 1997

ISBN: 0-262-03246-5

Page Count: 244

Publisher: MIT Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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