A medical chronicle that effectively combines dramatic tension with the detachment of a veteran emergency flight nurse.



An experienced flight nurse provides an insider’s look at the daily workload, idiosyncrasies, and camaraderie of the crew of a helicopter air ambulance in this debut memoir.

Bell recounts that he was “married with two boys and a dog” near Phoenix, Arizona, where he was part of a three-person team working on a medical helicopter. Having started his career as an Army medic, he had hoped to become a doctor, but his plans were derailed in the 1980s by his wife-to-be’s unexpected pregnancy. Instead, he completed a program to become a registered nurse, breaking new ground in an occupation generally confined to women. His skill at emergency and intensive care eventually led him to the exciting career of flight nurse in an air ambulance. There, Bell worked with a crew of highly individualistic, matter-of-fact heroes. He trusted his life to pilots like Matt, so devoted to his wife that he never noticed other women, and Coffey, whose repertory included a constant barrage of sexist jokes. He was backed up by his paramedics, including Brian, who had custody of his 4-year-old daughter, and James, a veteran of the Army Special Forces. Together, they took on a variety of medical emergencies, from dealing with the devastating effects of an automobile collision with a semi on the interstate to finding lost hikers on a dark mountainside, bringing “Auxilium Desuper” or “aid from above” to all. Bell presents his stories in a down-to-earth voice that reflects humor and professionalism. The recitation of the crew’s medical treatments and adventures are interspersed with moments of perceptive examination of such issues as the inevitable ego clashes when elite professionals work together. The author’s plainspoken writing leads to the occasional cringeworthy simile, as when he describes his success with a difficult intubation by saying: “To my delight, there were the vocal cords staring at me like a wanting vagina.” But overall, the book is successful in its depiction of the nuts and bolts of a job unfamiliar to most and requiring both courage and skill.

A medical chronicle that effectively combines dramatic tension with the detachment of a veteran emergency flight nurse.

Pub Date: May 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9995823-4-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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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

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