DEADLY FEASTS

TRACKING THE SECRETS OF A TERRIFYING NEW PLAGUE

This gripping study of ``mad cow disease'' by Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 1987, etc.) weaves careful research and powerful stories into a chilling narrative that often reads more like science fiction. Indeed, Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle gets credit for prescience at one point: The plot of that novel involves an aberrant form of ice crystal that freezes the oceans and brings about the end of life on earth. For ice crystal, read ``prion,'' the term coined by Stanley Prusiner, a California biochemist/neurologist, to describe a proteinaceous infectious particle that is thought to work by triggering the aberrant folding of a normal brain protein. The end result is fatty deposits in the brain, holes where nerve cells used to be, and, eventually, death. There is no cure. The scary thing about the TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, a generic term used to refer to several diseases generating this damage in humans and animals) is that they can be passed within, and sometimes across, species by the consumption of suspect tissues. (Many kinds of animal feed include ground-up animal parts.) Normal chemicals and heat treatment that inactivate DNA do not, for some reason, destroy TSE agents. Rhodes faults the British for being terribly slow to get started slaughtering infected herds and for failing to insure that farmers complied with new regulations for feed preparation. He goes on to assert that there is enough evidence to suggest that Americans may also fall victim to cross-species brain diseases: the animal TSEs exist here, and we are regularly exposed to a variety of products (milk, meat, gelatin) that may carry infection. Rhodes's argument, that suveillance and protection are needed as much as research, is persuasive. A powerful and alarming book. (First serial to Washington Post magazine; Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: March 20, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-82360-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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

Did you like this book?

more