An intriguing biography of a unique—and on Nantucket, irreplaceable—doctor.



In this absorbing debut, award-winning New York Times staff writer Belluck chronicles the daily life of a maverick physician and the Nantucket community he serves.

In addition to his job as head of medicine at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Dr. Timothy Lepore, a general surgeon, also runs a family practice and serves as the physician for the high-school football team—those are only his official jobs. Not only is his role “central to the health and life of a community in ways that rarely occur these days,” writes the author, but it is also exemplary of the art of healing. “His unconventional story shows…that what really matters is the time, effort, conviction, and care that a doctor provides.” Lepore is a larger-than-life figure on Nantucket, and his quirks are the stuff of legend—e.g., he carves scalpels from obsidian using stone-age techniques, and he hunts with a pet hawk. Also legendary are his diagnostic skills and dedication to his patients. Over the 30 years that he has practiced medicine on the island, Lepore has dealt with medical emergencies at times when weather conditions prevented the transfer of a patient to a specialist on the mainland. He has treated celebrities on summer vacation, including members of the Kennedy family, but the year-rounders, many of whom work in low-wage jobs in the tourist industry, form the core of his practice. Widely traveled summer tourists may suffer exotic diseases that challenge his expertise, but depression, alcohol abuse and teen suicide are endemic on the island. Under Lepore's leadership, Nantucket’s hospital has played a crucial role in maintaining the community's health, but it is becoming less sustainable. “The cost of providing free care to poor and uninsured patients ha[s] grown by 60 percent,” writes Belluck. Notes the hospital’s CEO, “We kept up with the medical care, but not with the business of medical care.”

An intriguing biography of a unique—and on Nantucket, irreplaceable—doctor.

Pub Date: May 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58648-751-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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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 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 19, 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...


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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