Next book

THE CASE FOR INTERFERON

Sound research and expert experience create an illuminating work on the potential benefits of interferon.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A scientist advocates the revival of an antiviral cancer treatment popular in the 1980s.

Cummins, a microbiologist and veterinarian, has produced an astute, thought-provoking, and convincing testament to the revitalization of low-dose interferon administration. The goal of his book—written with former attorney Heckenlively—is to renew clinical and public interest in the drug, which came into prominence in the early ’80s. Despite proven antiviral and anti-cancer properties in animals, the treatment failed to surpass the scientific community’s lofty expectations for it in human trials. Cummins, whose narrative perspective predominantly anchors the work, first charts his own interest and history in veterinary medicine and how his distinguished career in immunological research science prepared him to become a leading voice in interferon application advocacy for animals as well as humans. The volume describes interferon as a naturally occurring protein found in the human body during a viral infection that has been resoundingly beneficial for animals in veterinary arenas as well as helpful in providing broad protection to humans by shortening the duration of viral shedding. Although early Japanese and Russian studies bolstered low-dose interferon as an influenza prophylaxis, its widespread usage never materialized. Cummins embarked on a career researching oral human interferon and authoring many articles on its efficacy in trials. This study-heavy work shares the wealth of more than five decades of research backing interferon’s use, including controversial success stories, like a veterinarian who treated himself with the drug after contracting HIV; case studies with compromised patients; and media coverage. Parts of the narrative utilize scientific jargon that may confuse some lay readers, though others will find themselves persuaded by the sensible and science-supported arguments. Concluding chapters offer an update on the current state of more recent clinical trials and an enlightening lesson on viral behavior and how the immune system’s reaction to classic coronaviruses could prepare the human body’s defense mechanisms against SARS-CoV-2. Cummins gets personal in the closing pages, admitting to suffering from Parkinson’s disease and planning to relinquish his participation in the effort to reawaken interest in interferon usage. He asserts that interferon has its share of detractors who believe the drug “threatens to upend the pharmaceutical bottom line.”

Sound research and expert experience create an illuminating work on the potential benefits of interferon.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5107-6550-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 39


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2023


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 39


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2023


  • New York Times Bestseller

A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

Next book

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Close Quickview