YOU'RE SMARTER THAN THEY MAKE YOU FEEL

HOW THE EXPERTS INTIMIDATE US AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

A plodding, repetitive self-help manifesto by psychologist Caplan (Psychiatry/Univ. of Toronto; Between Women, 1981, etc.) that accuses experts in the fields of medicine, law, and psychiatry of deliberately using rank-pulling strategies to intimidate the hapless consumer. In chapters with titles like ``What They Say and What They Don't Say'' and ``What They Do and What They Don't Do,'' Caplan draws up a laundry list of devices that doctors and other experts routinely employ—such as using needlessly complex language, refusing to answer questions, or failing to give all the necessary information—to lord it over their patients or clients. The author cites numerous examples of people who have been victimized by experts—like the woman who ended up on a kidney dialysis machine because her psychiatrist, who'd put her on lithium, had failed to monitor the antidepressant's side effects. Moreover, Caplan charges that our childlike insistence on seeing doctors and lawyers as gods instead of as the ordinary nebbishes many of them are—men and women who may have graduated at the bottom of their med- or law- school class—prevents us from wising up and demanding the treatment we deserve. Too many conspiratorial references to the evil experts as ``them'' and to the cheated consumers as ``us'' tend to infantilize the reader, as well as to simplify the problems of living in a complex, highly specialized world where technical language is sometimes unavoidable. If you're as smart as Caplan claims, you probably don't need to read this book.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 1994

ISBN: 0-02-905235-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

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NUTCRACKER

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

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

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

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