LEVEL 4

VIRUS HUNTERS OF THE CDC

Adventures of two gutsy physicians fighting deadly viruses amidst political chicanery and under incredibly harsh and primitive conditions. ``Level 4'' refers to the biosafety standards required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for working with lethal agents. Among these are the viruses that cause Ebola and Lassa fevers. McCormick, the initial narrator, gives a vivid picture of trying to control outbreaks of these in Sierra Leone and Zaire early in his career as an epidemiologist for the CDC. In 1986, he asked Fisher-Hoch, a British researcher into the pathophysiology of viral hemorrhagic fevers, to join the CDC, and soon afterward she too was doing fieldwork in Africa. Although both doctors are masters of the quiet understatement (they take turns narrating and have nearly identical styles), their tales of plague fighting in isolated African villages often boggle the imagination. Their dispassionate description of the outbreak of Ebola among monkeys in a laboratory in Reston, Va., differs markedly from the high drama of the event as described in Richard Preston's bestselling The Hot Zone (1994). McCormick's account of tracing the spread of AID in Zaire, where the primary mode of transmission turned out to be heterosexual contact, is especially noteworthy, as is his criticism of the Reagan administration for denying this finding, preferring to see AIDS as simply a ``gay plague.'' Fisher-Hoch's experiences in Saudi Arabia during an outbreak of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever reveal as much about the subjugation of women as about disease. The doctors wed in 1992 and since 1993 have been working in Karachi, Pakistan, where cholera, typhus, and hepatitis are rampant and overpopulation, violence, and extreme poverty are facts of life. Demonstrates clearly that while viruses can be deadly, humans may have more to fear from humanity itself. (16 pages photos, not seen) (First printing of 100,000; $150,000 ad/promo; author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-57036-277-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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 LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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?

more