Revealing account of the experience of tuberculosis from the patient's point of view. A scholar at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons, Rothman (Woman's Proper Place, 1978) examined numerous collections of family papers, diaries, and memoirs searching for ``narratives of illness,'' specifically for accounts by those with tuberculosis, the leading cause of death in the 19th century. First come the writings of young, educated New Englanders in the opening half of that century—a time when the disease, then called consumption, was believed to be hereditary and noncontagious. Its sufferers were considered invalids, a label with both medical and social implications, requiring the ill to seek cures and modifying their social obligations. Male invalids might have to change their careers, giving up the bookish professions, for instance, to go off on lengthy ocean voyages or take up the outdoor life of a farmer; women, however, were expected to seek their cures at home, surrounded by family. Through their narratives, we see how the sufferers lived with life-altering illness and how their families and friends responded. Rothman turns then to the western frontier during the period 1840-90. Here, consumptives became health seekers, full of confidence and optimism, until, with Robert Koch's discovery of the tubercle bacillus in 1882, fear of contagion changed everything. Those diagnosed with tuberculosis were thereafter segregated in sanitoriums, their illness narratives narrowing from life stories to accounts of encounters with the disease, nurses and doctors, and other patients. Rothman's selection of narrative passages, along with her own descriptions, make the transition from invalid to health seeker to patient a poignant one, and her revelations about the nature of illness from the patient's perspective are especially valuable in light of the current tuberculosis comeback and the national debate about health care policy. Rich in detail and human interest.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-465-03002-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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