A marvelously concise yet thorough rundown of an issue with significant geopolitical ramifications.

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FROM ENEMIES TO PARTNERS

VIETNAM, THE U.S. AND AGENT ORANGE

A comprehensive study of the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese victims and the bilateral political attempt to help them.

Between 1961 and 1970, the United States military sprayed more than 10,000-square miles of Vietnam—and more than 5 million acres of farmland—with the herbicide known as Agent Orange in an attempt to destroy crops and generate massive defoliation. Agent Orange contained dioxin, a highly toxic compound, to which as many as 4 million Vietnamese and nearly 3 million American service people were exposed. Debut authors Bailey and Son collaboratively furnish a brief but impressively comprehensive synopsis of the medical and political aftermath of Agent Orange’s use. In the wake of the war, both the U.S. and Vietnam were reluctant to publicly discuss the issue, and Vietnam’s own research on the damage wasn’t declassified until the 2000s, making a joint national effort to remedy the situation all but impossible. That all changed in 2006, however, when U.S. President George W. Bush issued a joint statement with Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet that included the issue as a talking point, breaking the seal of silence that functioned as a barricade to bilateral cooperation. The authors unflinchingly discuss the extraordinary physical and mental effects of Agent Orange, including lung cancer, diminished mobility, and birth defects, based on the most widely accepted epigenetic and epidemiological studies. They also consider the successes and failures of the binational cooperation to assist the victims. Bailey and Son are remarkably knowledgeable about the subject. The former is a public policy analyst who spearheaded the Ford Foundation’s initiative on Agent Orange, and the latter is a medical doctor and toxicologist who served as the director of the Agent Orange Victims Fund at the Vietnam Red Cross. Collectively, the authors’ breadth is remarkable—they even analyze the attempts to pursue legal action on behalf of the victims. Also, they display admirable intellectual restraint, admitting when appropriate the inconclusiveness of the scientific studies causally linking Agent Orange to specific medical maladies.

A marvelously concise yet thorough rundown of an issue with significant geopolitical ramifications.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9993413-1-5

Page Count: 242

Publisher: G. Anton Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

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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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

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