Readers will certainly not agree with Munson in all cases, but he does a service in raising the issues and pointing to the...

RAISING THE DEAD

ORGAN TRANSPLANTS, ETHICS, AND SOCIETY

One man’s take on the art, science, and ethics of organ transplantation. Given the author’s other life as a thriller writer (Night Vision, 1995, etc.), it’s not too surprising that the take is often as melodramatic as the title.

The facts are mostly here, however, and textbook-writer Munson (Philosophy of Science and Medicine/Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis) provides a useful review of where we’ve been and what lies ahead. Remember Mickey Mantle’s liver transplant? Foil for Munson’s discussion of whether it’s right to give lifelong alcoholics—with liver cancer yet—a transplant, and whether the rich and famous get put at the top of the list. Baby Fae with the baboon heart? Basis for examination of xenotransplantation (cross-species transplants). And so with a consideration of the ethics of selling organs, touched off by the story of a woman who donated a kidney to finance her son’s bone-marrow transplant. Munson also supplies such future scenarios as entrepreneurs raising baboons for transplants, or all of us to growing replacement organs based on harvesting our own stem cells. Each of these chapters (as well as several on the issue of defining when death occurs) ends with the bioethicist taking a stand on what’s right or wrong. Munson concludes that the docs did the right thing in Mantle’s case, the wrong one in Baby Fae’s; he says it’s sometimes okay to sell organs and comments that xenotransplants may have more going for them than against (such as the risk of spreading animal viruses). Finally, he sees real hope for embryo and, to a lesser extent, adult stem-cell therapy, opposing the Catholic (and Bush administration) position that only existing embryo stem-cell lines should be available for research.

Readers will certainly not agree with Munson in all cases, but he does a service in raising the issues and pointing to the needs of an aging society in which health care is anything but equitable.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-19-513299-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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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

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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