A sobering, well-rendered reality check on the desperate need for advanced training on compassion-centric modes of patient...

IN SHOCK

MY JOURNEY FROM DEATH TO RECOVERY AND THE REDEMPTIVE POWER OF HOPE

A physician learns firsthand about the adverse aspects of the patient experience through her own catastrophic illness.

Detroit-based critical care physician Awdish began experiencing waves of abdominal pain and nausea while seven months pregnant with her first child and checked in at her workplace emergency department. Even before she was diagnosed and treated, she personally acknowledged the detachment patients often experience between themselves and the medical professionals charged with their clinical care, something she categorizes as an “unsettling, largely unspoken reality” in contemporary medicine. While she blames the conventional methodology of physician training, with its unwavering focus on disease diagnosis and distance to avoid burnout, she also recognizes that, as a doctor, she was in need of compassionate care training in order to connect with patients on more levels than directly pathological. “Despite completing my training,” she writes, “despite being surrounded by every form and severity of disease, I had yet to learn what it meant to be sick.” This, and further episodes of enlightenment, underpins the book’s core foundation. Awdish’s initially unknown malady eventually ballooned into an affliction of nightmarish proportions. Miraculously delivered from her deathbed, she survived internal bleeding, a stroke, liver tumors, and a heartbreaking miscarriage. Awdish also had to suffer the callous missteps and insensitive presuppositions made by hospital staff. Punctuated by descriptions of harrowing moments like waking up while on a mechanical respirator or developing hernias after surgeons applied quick stitches meant for an irremediable patient, the utter senselessness of illness reverberates throughout this carefully written chronicle of suffering and recovery. As the author returned to her livelihood as a humbled physician and grateful mother, she fully embodied and shared the knowledge that there could indeed be “reciprocity in empathy” in medicine.

A sobering, well-rendered reality check on the desperate need for advanced training on compassion-centric modes of patient care.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-11921-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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