A rousing good read, strong on human interest and filled with appalling and amazing data.




A pull-no-punches attack on the hucksterism of alternative medicine and an exposé of the federal government’s failure to regulate the vitamin and supplement industry.

Offit (Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Vaccinology and Pediatrics/Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, 2011; etc.) relates shocking stories of the harm done to people by promoters of false claims, and he doesn’t hesitate to name names. His brief account of the lobbying and politics behind the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, called by the New York Times “The Snake Oil Protection Act,” is particularly eye-opening. Offit casts an especially critical eye on celebrity promoters of alternative therapies. Among those who come under his scrutiny are former actress Suzanne Somers with her so-called anti-aging product line; TV’s charismatic Dr. Mehmet Oz and his “Superstars of Alternative Medicine”: Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra; and osteopath Rashid Buttar, a prolific author and promoter of an unlicensed anti-autism cream. Offit also gives his take on various common products that practitioners of alternative medicine claim have therapeutic value—e.g., garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and milk thistle. Of special interest is his chapter on what has been learned about the value of the placebo response and how it explains the positive effects of some alternative therapies. The harm, he writes, comes when their promoters recommend against helpful conventional therapies, when they promote potentially dangerous therapies without warning, when they give patients false hopes and then drain their bank accounts, and, finally, when they promote magical thinking or scientific illiteracy.

A rousing good read, strong on human interest and filled with appalling and amazing data.

Pub Date: June 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222296-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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



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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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

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