Detailed but dry account of malfeasance and witch hunts at the UC/Irvine’s fertility clinic.
The early-1990s controversy reflects the challenges of new technologies like in vitro fertilization, state coauthors Dodge (Public Affairs/Univ. of Colorado, Denver) and Geis (Law/UC Irvine; Crimes of the Century, 1998, etc.). “It is also,” they write, “a story replete with evasions, nastiness, and injustice.” The authors begin in 1995, when traumatized couples came forward to claim that eggs stored at the clinic had been implanted in other women without their permission. Dodge and Geis then backtrack to the clinic’s 1986 hiring of prominent reproductive physician Ricardo Asch, whose accounting and record-keeping were soon questioned by subordinates. Conflicts between doctors and staff led to audits amid an atmosphere of distrust; in 1994, three clinic employees filed formal complaints with multiple fraud-related allegations. By the time the National Institutes of Health intervened, the situation had developed into a PR disaster. The authors convincingly argue, as many in the medical community did at the time, that UCI deliberately directed the scandal toward Asch and two Latin American colleagues, who were publicly tarred as greedy and remote. Asch and José Balmaceda fled to their home countries; Sergio Stone stayed and was seemingly prosecuted for the allegations against all three. Devoting long chapters to each doctor’s case, Dodge and Geis explore the ambiguities, arguing that the physicians were pilloried for behavior that was hardly unique. Alienation of civilian managers and poor record-keeping were common practices in the medical subculture, the authors assert, abetted in this instance by UCI’s lack of oversight until damage control was necessary. Dodge and Geis take a broad view, summarizing the scandal’s every stage and providing legalistic references that fill in the details without generating much suspense. Their tart analysis of the thorny field of contemporary reproductive science, however, is eye-opening and informative.
More for students of clinical management and reproductive issues than general readers.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
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)