Next book



A valuable corrective text for our overmedicated nation.

According to this expert skeptical account, there is less to many medical interventions than meets the eye.

Offit, a professor of pediatrics whose books include Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (2017), begins each chapter with the history of a belief or treatment and why it became popular, and then he describes the research showing why it’s ineffective and sometimes positively harmful. Regardless, too often, these remedies remain popular. Antibiotic eye drops rarely cure pinkeye. Antioxidants and vitamin E can contribute to cancer. Giving testosterone to older men doesn’t improve their sex lives but doubles the risk of a heart attack. Sunscreen doesn’t prevent skin cancer. Readers may be shocked to read that many studies designed to measure the efficacy of mammograms in preventing breast cancer deaths find no benefit. Other studies disagree, and this is an area of fierce debate. Offit writes that mammograms may save lives, but the effect is not as dramatic as once thought. The prostate specific antigen test measures a blood chemical sometimes elevated in prostate cancer but sometimes elevated for other reasons. Many experts agree with the author that it does more harm than good. Some worthless treatments are blasts from the past. As a cure for the common cold, Vitamin C peaked in the 1970s with Nobel Prize–winning Linus Pauling’s research. Today, enthusiasts still consider it miraculous, but it’s no more so than other vitamins. That teething causes fever is a Victorian belief that has achieved new life with the internet; ditto the conviction that amalgam dental fillings contain poison and should be replaced. Medical organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians discourage most of the practices that Offit condemns. Physician inertia often hinders their work, but so does patient demand. Most readers know that doctors dispense too many unnecessary antibiotics, but research has shown that “no…factor was as strongly associated with patient satisfaction as receipt of a prescription for an antibiotic.”

A valuable corrective text for our overmedicated nation.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294749-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Next book


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Next book



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview