A sharp, entertaining foray into one of civilization’s most ancient and agonizing quandaries.



An investigation of one of the primary downsides of alcohol that has forever plagued and puzzled the world’s drinkers: the common hangover.

“You tumble from dreams of deserts and demons into semi-consciousness,” writes Bishop-Stall (Writing/Univ. of Toronto School of Continuing Studies; Ghosted, 2010, etc.). “Your mouth is full of sand. A voice is calling from far away, as if back in that blurry desert. It is begging you for water. You try to move, but can’t.” In an attempt to pinpoint an effective cure to this morning-after curse, the author plunges into his own lost weekend, emerging with an irreverent, quasi-clinical narrative thick with witty anecdotes and hilarious asides. This is not a treatise on methods of conquering a hangover, nor a step-by-step guide on how to deliver oneself from the evils of this ancient ailment. In his travels to the world’s most notorious drinking spots, including Amsterdam, Scotland, New Orleans, and Las Vegas, the author engaged with all manner of experts and researchers. Along the way, he imbibed every alcoholic concoction imaginable, often while juggling multiple writing assignments. He also met dozens of interesting people, and he tells their stories as well as the backgrounds of various cocktails, the etymology of alcohol-associated words, and the ever changing cultural mores surrounding drunkenness since the Dark Ages. Between visits to various commercial detox clinics that offer IV drip treatments, Bishop-Stall experimented with the often “messy, stinky, dodgy work” of trying nearly every practical (and impractical) morning-after solution ever invented. These include modern pills and nutritional supplements, offbeat recipes like mixing charcoal powder with milk, and, of course, the classic remedy: the hair of the dog. Eventually, Bishop-Stall arrived at a cure of sorts, which he shares with readers. “Yes, I have found a cure for the common hangover—or, more accurately, an antidote, or perhaps a prophylactic,” he writes. “But essentially it is a cure.”

A sharp, entertaining foray into one of civilization’s most ancient and agonizing quandaries.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-14-312670-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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