An intriguing, if sales-oriented, guide that back-pain sufferers may find worth considering.




A primer on inversion therapy for back pain.

In his debut, McKay explains how the low-angle inversion table he invented not only provides back-pain relief—by subtly raising a sufferer’s feet higher than his or her head—but also results in “Wellness ‘side-benefits,’ ” such as clearer thinking or increased energy. It would be reasonable for readers to dismiss this work as a thinly veiled sales pitch for the author’s “Gravity Pal” table; indeed, the product is often referenced in the text. Still, for anyone seeking a clear, readable discussion of inversion—an accepted therapy for treating back troubles—and its potential benefits, this book certainly suffices. McKay starts with the expected personal story of his own back pain and subsequent surgery. After he decided to study back-pain relief therapies, he discovered that inversion was not a new idea, but typically, its approach was “higher angle” inversion, which McKay believed was “too scary and impractical.” This led to his invention of a lightweight, portable, low-angle inversion table. However, the primary focus of the book isn’t the use of that product but rather the notion that one needs to take responsibility for one’s own health care. This broadens the author’s objective considerably; he proposes the idea of becoming a “General Contractor of your own health,” explains ayurveda medicine’s “six developmental stages of disease,” and outlines the “four steps to wellness”: coping, progress, overcoming, and celebration. Eventually, the argument returns to inversion, which, McKay claims, can be used both for compression relief and “as a central Wellness tool.” Perhaps the most practical portion of the book is the author’s “toolkit”—a potpourri of techniques and therapeutic approaches that he says he’s used to improve his own well-being, including weight training, acupuncture, salt baths, transcendental meditation, and, of course, low-angle inversion. An appendix offers specific instructions for some of these modalities as well as additional resources. Some of the book’s claims are unsubstantiated, but McKay offers an open invitation to researchers “to determine through objective testing if these results can be independently verified.”

An intriguing, if sales-oriented, guide that back-pain sufferers may find worth considering.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9826615-3-6

Page Count: 241

Publisher: Self-Care Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?