Accounts following students through medical school appear regularly, but this one limits itself to a single course: first-year anatomy. It turns out to be a good idea.
Giegerich takes a journalist’s approach, emphasizing the human interest of his story. Choosing one cadaver, he researches its life and writes the biography of the man from birth through education, marriage, career, illness, and death. He tells the life story of the mortician at the New Jersey medical school who prepares the body for dissection, of the instructors who teach, and of a researcher who studies how students deal with the stress of anatomy class. Finally, the author focuses on four medical students, who make an appealing collection of aspiring doctors, and adds their life stories to that of the man they dissect. To meet and cut into a dead human marks the baptism by fire for every medical student. The author describes the reaction of each of the four, then follows them for three-and-a-half months as they reduce the cadaver to shreds. We see them struggle, then succeed in absorbing a massive amount of information and grow increasingly confident in their ability to make it through four years. Readers will be pleased to learn that the experience does not harden the students, but increases their respect for the human body and their commitment to their profession. The narrative rings true despite the usual tendency of lay writers to emphasize the bad smells and gruesome sights of anatomy lab, as well as the often-horrified reactions, internal struggles, and philosophizing of the students. In reality, such introspection takes up little of a medical student’s time.
A fine addition to the genre: Giegerich has worked hard researching the subject, and he writes without cynicism.
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").
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)