AWAKENINGS

L-DOPA has been hailed by researchers as a "miracle drug," a "cure" for schizophrenia. Sacks provides 20 case histories of patients to whom the drug was administered, most of them victims of the "sleeping sickness" epidemic of the 1920's, further complicated by Parkinsonian symptoms: that is, their volition was undermined, they had difficulty in starting and stopping movements (though the problem was not muscular). The fact that they remained thinking, feeling beings placed them in a sort of "ontological death": conscious, yet not fully awake. The results of L-DOPA were inconsistent and unpredictable. It produced an "awakening," but one which was almost universally followed by "tribulation," some instances of which led back to the pre-DOPA state, others to even further fragmentation of personality. One patient called the drug, "hell-DOPA"; another said, "If you ask whether L-DOPA is good or bad for me, I'd say it was both. It has wonderful effects, but there is a hell of a 'but' . . ." Some effected a final "accommodation," a new level of being far richer than the pre-DOPA level. Sacks argues that "altering. . . chemical circumstances may be a prerequisite to any other alteration; but that it is not, in itself, enough." A drug cannot fulfill psychological needs, and it may intensify those needs when they are not otherwise met. In the eerie shadow-world where mind and body meet, Sacks remains extraordinarily compassionate and perceptive. A sagacious, discerning book.

Pub Date: July 12, 1974

ISBN: 0375704051

Page Count: 466

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1974

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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