Insightfully portrays an ailing American health system and ways to improve one’s health.


Off Balance, the American Way of Health


An American-trained pharmacist discusses the shortcomings of traditional Western medicine and advocates natural approaches to health care and wellness.

Ali writes with refreshing candor about her disillusionment with traditional medicine. After receiving her degree as a doctor of pharmacy and taking a position as a well-paid pharmacist, the author found herself unfulfilled and “essentially working a retail job” instead of using her knowledge to help sick people. Her career dissatisfaction led to financial and personal setbacks, until eventually, Ali read a book recommended by a friend—Cleanse and Purify Thyself by Richard Anderson, which claims “that 99 percent of known human disease is caused by what we eat.” The book changed her life and led to personal and professional epiphanies: She was “off-balance” and so was the American health care system. Ali writes, “[i]t eventually became very clear to me that many standard medical treatments are manufactured in order to: Create long-term customers; Provide patients with temporary comfort; Specifically, NOT treat the underlying cause.” In 15 chapters, Ali addresses topics such as “What’s Wrong with American Medicine?”; “Cleansing and Detox”; “Weight Loss”; “Pain”; and “Starting Your Holistic Journey”. She believes that, for centuries, people used natural remedies; however, the early 20th century brought about a paradigm shift in health care treatment in which the American Medical Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and large pharmaceutical and insurance companies created a profit-driven system that doesn’t prevent illness or cure it but perpetuates customers who “will turn to drugs in their time of sickness.” The book includes insightful interviews with alternative healing practitioners as well as individuals who’ve reclaimed their health through natural means after the American health care system failed them. Chapters begin with pithy quotes and color cartoon illustrations, and there are colorful charts, interview balloons and chapter summaries, too. In an age of mandated American health insurance, in which “drugs are covered by insurance, [but] holistic solutions are not,” Ali offers a thoughtful guide for those seeking another path.

Insightfully portrays an ailing American health system and ways to improve one’s health.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0985345204

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


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

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