A slightly scattershot collection, but, as usual for Nuland, more hits than misses.



An assortment of essays by National Book Award winner Nuland (Surgery/Yale; The Art of Aging: A Doctor's Prescription for Well-Being, 2007, etc.).

All but one originally published in the American Scholar, these meditations concern the uncertainty inherent in the art of medicine, the necessity of integrating the humanities into a medical education too focused on technology and research, the boundaries of medical responsibility and the limits of physicians’ authority. The author even dares to predict medical advances that will come in the 21st century. Several pieces address the history of medicine: stories of grave robbers; a survey of ancient and not-so-ancient beliefs about the bowel; an analysis of how medical beliefs are reflected in language (“liver” and “life” have the same root, because that organ was once seen as the seat of life); and an appreciation of Thomas Eakins’s two wildly different but equally perceptive portraits of physicians, The Gross Clinic and The Agnew Clinic. Into these ruminations Nuland inserts personal stories: the happy results of his own weight-training program, his thoughts on the art of writing, his observations of and speculations about the effectiveness of acupuncture as an anesthetic during surgery and a lighthearted trifle on what it is like to hear the words, “Is there a doctor in the house?” The most moving essay, written for this collection, is a warm tribute to a man who was awaiting a heart transplant at the same time that Nuland was planning an article on heart transplantation for the New Yorker. George Leyden agreed to record his thoughts in a daily journal titled “The Musings of a Heart Transplant Candidate,” which he kept from the time the two men met until a week before his death some eight months later. Nuland quotes extensively from this wrenching, revealing journal in his profile of Leyden, whom he came to admire greatly for his honesty and courage.

A slightly scattershot collection, but, as usual for Nuland, more hits than misses.

Pub Date: May 27, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6478-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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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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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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