The bottom line still seems to be, ``You can't fool mother nature.'' But, as this fascinating book demonstrates, there have been plenty of attempts to do just that. Indeed, Gosden's report on past and present attempts to understand and delay aging is full of delicious accounts of the benighted scientists and clever charlatans who have purveyed one rejuvenating therapy after another—from injections, monkey gland operations, and urine-drinking to today's hormone cocktails and anticipated gene therapy. There is much here for students of medical fads and fallacies. Before focusing on spurious elixirs, Gosden (Reproductive Biology/Univ. of Leeds, England) provides a feast of facts and theories that have colored (and sometimes tainted) gerontology. Here the reader will learn about the wide variation in aging across species, the association of sex and death in some, and the many theories (from high basal metabolism rates to the presence of free radicals in cells) spun to explain senescence in humans. Gosden speculates on how aging may have come about as a side effect of natural selection and evolution, possibly as a result of multipurpose (pleiotropic) genes that may confer an advantage in youth but prove detrimental in age. Interestingly, Gosden's survey of aging among a number of species seems to suggest that being relatively large, having a big brain, and possessing the ability to fly all favor longevity! While Gosden provides evidence that estrogen replacement therapy may well protect against heart disease and osteoporosis in women, and opines that testosterone may find its way into the male pharmacopeia, there are enough caveats against assuming that an easy solution to aging is at hand. The net result of this prodigious assemblage of facts and fancy is to humble the reader: There's much we still don't know about aging. It's reassuring to discover from Gosden's lively overview of research that there are some able scientists out there who are giving gerontology a good name. (12 illustrations)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 1996

ISBN: 0-7167-3059-6

Page Count: 404

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1996

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



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


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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