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A wise, well-informed assessment of present and future health perils.

A prominent physician offers timely counsel.

Late in 2018, neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Gupta wrote an op-ed piece warning that a major pandemic was inevitable and calling for the development of new vaccines. While describing himself as “an eternal optimist,” the author reprises that warning along with advice about how to “better predict, prepare, and respond.” Gupta’s overview of the U.S. response to the virus will be familiar to readers of mainstream media. With denial among many in Trump’s circle and responsibility for public health spread over myriad departments, there was “division, dysfunction, and lack of truth telling among our leaders.” In addition, “the general unhealthiness of Americans played a role,” with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease making people more vulnerable to Covid-19. Because the virus can be transmitted asymptomatically, testing of people who showed symptoms proved to be “too little, too late” in halting the spread. Gupta gives cogent, accessible explanations about the biology of viruses, how vaccines work, and how the immune system fights off pathogens. Yet he admits that much about coronaviruses is still unknown: about transmission, about why some people fall desperately ill while others are asymptomatic, about mutations, and about the persistence of long-term symptoms. “Can COVID hide out in the body and continue to inflict damage?” Gupta asks. “Can it persist long after the acute phase of illness has resolved?” Much of his book focuses on preparedness, including promoting digital literacy, making healthy life choices, assessing risk factors intelligently, and assembling a pandemic prep kit. He debunks anti-vaccination myths, such as that the mRNA vaccine was rushed or changes one’s DNA or causes infertility. Our response to Covid-19, Gupta asserts convincingly, was a “multisystem organ failure, ranging from our poor health to our inflated sense of readiness.”

A wise, well-informed assessment of present and future health perils.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982166-10-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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