Sharp, authoritative, and intensely data-driven. Though it reads like an expanded article for a professional medical...

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MORE THAN MEDICINE

THE BROKEN PROMISE OF AMERICAN HEALTH

An argument for redirecting health care funding in the United States, concentrating less on biomedical research and more on social services, thereby improving our general health and preventing overspending.

In the U.S., we spend considerably more on developing expensive medical treatments compared to other economically advanced countries, yet we often fall behind in terms of life expectancy and quality of life. So argues Kaplan (Director of Research/Stanford School of Medicine Clinical Excellence Research Center; The Prophet of Psychiatry: In Search of Reginald Ellery, 2015, etc.) in this slim but comprehensive new book. The author rigorously investigates some of the cutting-edge research areas—e.g., genetic therapy and precision medicine—funded by the National Institutes of Health (where the author was a chief science officer) and influenced by the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. He concludes that the promise of generating astounding cures for particular medical problems is considerably stronger than the practice. He appeals for increased funding for improved quality-of-health care that could save thousands of lives, citing the increased number of deaths each year due to poor treatment and medical errors (the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer). Kaplan further considers issues around race, financial inequality, and lack of education, pointing to the increased death rates in more impoverished parts of the country where medicine has done little to improve health outcomes. Ultimately, the author is not opposed to biomedicine, but he seeks urgent reforms in how we allocate funding. “It is not my contention that biomedicine is inherently harmful or useless. Far from it,” he writes. “It is my contention that researchers and the wider citizenry should continually debate strategies for extracting public benefit from scientific knowledge. I believe that an open debate, accountable to the latest evidence, will inspire significant reforms.”

Sharp, authoritative, and intensely data-driven. Though it reads like an expanded article for a professional medical journal, the argument is deeply compelling.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-674-97590-3

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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