A forceful, if somewhat irritable, critique of the American medical system.

CUTTHROAT

A SURGEON’S FIGHT AGAINST BIG GOVERNMENT, CORRUPT BUSINESSMEN, AND A BROKEN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

In a medical memoir and exposé, a successful spinal surgeon describes his career and the legal and professional challenges that almost derailed it.  

From the start of this remembrance, orthopedic surgeon Cyr speaks about “the cutthroatbusinessmen who surround our profession” in extreme terms, calling them “predators who are waiting to devour us.” Asserting his intention to “expose conditions in our healthcare system that need an overhaul,” the author begins with his own background. A devout Christian who was born into a military family, Cyr was inclined to view his role as a doctor in terms of service rather than profit. He was inspired to take up orthopedic surgery after he had a successful knee operation following a football injury. He obtained a U.S. Air Force scholarship to pay for his expensive education, though it required him to remain in the service for 14 years and included two grueling Iraq combat deployments. He rose to the role of chief spinal surgeon and professor at the flagship U.S. Air Force hospital in Texas, where he routinely faced criticism and competition from colleagues. The legal issues that would plague his career began with the opening of his private practice, when he had to defend his right to use the name he’d chosen, which was similar to another practice’s. Many other legal issues, the author contends, resulted from counterproductive governmental regulations and insurance practices that favor corporate profits over patient welfare. Cyr is an often captivating storyteller, recounting his experiences with passion and immediacy, from intimate details of his family dynamics to the breakneck pace of his ambitious career. The role of the author’s religious faith in his dedication to medicine is also noteworthy, as when he writes that “God has surrounded me with angels and put a hand of protection over me and my family despite the constant stream of attacks I have experienced.” The tone veers toward querulousness at times, however, as in complaints about “malignant” fellow spine surgeons who disliked him, he says, because of his corporate recruiter wife’s high salary.

A forceful, if somewhat irritable, critique of the American medical system.

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63755-304-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Amplify Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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