KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

REYE’S SYNDROME, ASPIRIN, AND THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC HEALTH

A revealing work that validates the statement that watching policy being made is like watching sausage being made—not a...

A well-researched history of Reye’s syndrome that explores how science, medicine and politics interact.

Largent (Associate Dean/Lyman Briggs Coll. at Michigan State Univ.; Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America, 2012), a childhood survivor of Reye’s syndrome and currently a historian of science, tackles a malady that is still not well-understood. Named for the Australian physician who described it in the 1950s, the syndrome was at first thought to be caused by aflatoxins, then by ingredients in a pesticide, and then, in 1980, by aspirin. Largent relates each of these stories of searches for a cause, focusing mainly on aspirin. There is a brief chapter on therapies developed to treat Reye’s, which was often fatal or left survivors with severe disabilities, but the author’s primary concern is not treatment approaches but rather the long controversy over its link to aspirin. As Largent examines the dispute over whether to require warning labels on bottles of aspirin, he also scrutinizes the actions and interactions—some might say the machinations—of pharmaceutical companies, consumer rights groups, epidemiologists, public health officials, courts and the U.S. Congress. In 1985, the Department of Health and Human Services ordered that warnings about Reye’s syndrome appear on all bottles of aspirin sold in the United States, giving advocates of this measure the opportunity to create a narrative about the triumph of science over big pharma. However, as Largent points out, uncertainty remains. The incidence of Reye’s declined sharply in the 1980s and then virtually disappeared, leaving scientists without cases to investigate to determine whether aspirin was indeed the culprit. The author’s take-home message is that despite all the earnest efforts, sometimes there are no final answers.

A revealing work that validates the statement that watching policy being made is like watching sausage being made—not a sight for the squeamish.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-934137-88-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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