A powerful contribution to the ongoing discussion on health-care reform.

HOW WE DO HARM

A DOCTOR BREAKS RANKS ABOUT BEING SICK IN AMERICA

With the assistance of investigative journalist Goldberg (The Final Act: The Dramatic, Revealing Story of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group, 1988, etc.), Brawley (Medicine/Emory Univ.), chief medical scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, delivers a scathing indictment of the American medical system.

The authors provide solid documentation in support of the case that the American health system is fundamentally flawed, drawing on illustrative examples taken from his own experience as an oncologist as well as his expertise in public health. Brawley presents a shocking conclusion: “The system is not failing. It's functioning exactly as designed,” with “the greedy serving the gluttonous.” While low-income Americans are denied adequate medical care, the wealthy are also poorly served, often paying for unneeded treatments that can have dangerous side effects. The authors describe the case of a man whose experience was not atypical. While receiving chemotherapy as a precaution against cancer following colon surgery, he became too debilitated to work. When he could no longer afford the co-pays, he landed at Atlanta's Grady Hospital, which accepts patients with financial problems. After evaluating the patient's case, Brawley concluded that he was fortunate that his high-priced previous oncologist would no longer treat him, since he had mishandled the chemotherapy. “A negative wallet biopsy may have saved his life,” he writes ironically. Less fortunate was the breast-cancer patient who received a fatal bone-marrow transplant intended to reduce the risk of recurrence— a procedure based on positive data later proved to be fraudulent. Brawley provides citations from a variety of cases—pharmaceuticals that have dangerous side effects, unnecessary treatments for prostate cancer, etc.—including those of misguided patients who demanded excessive treatment and threatened lawsuits if it was denied.

A powerful contribution to the ongoing discussion on health-care reform.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-67297-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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