A dramatic account of a controversial natural cancer treatment.

WINNING THE WAR ON CANCER

THE EPIC JOURNEY TOWARDS A NATURAL CURE

A lawyer recounts her attempts to promote a natural cure for cancer in this debut medical memoir.

Beljanski’s parents, Mirko and Monique, were French cancer researchers who discovered two plant extracts with the power to eliminate cancerous stem cells while causing no harm to healthy cells. (If the stem cells are not killed, “the tumor will soon grow back.”) Although these findings were not widely known, the author’s parents had a highly successful treatment rate. Their most famous patient was none other than the long-serving French President François Mitterrand. But, according to Beljanski, the use of the extracts on Mitterrand exposed her parents to the ire of the French medical and political establishment: “Anything natural that works better than synthetic drugs is perceived as a frontal attack on the entire economy of pharmaceutical companies….The products, the man who conceived them, and all the know-how surrounding them must be destroyed.” Soldiers were dispatched to Mirko’s lab to arrest the couple and seize whatever research they could find. Across the sea in New York, Beljanski, an attorney who had never taken an active role in her parents’ work, became immediately drawn into the case, not simply to free them but to ensure that the people who had become reliant on the treatment they had engineered could continue to receive it. Following her father’s death in 1998, she created the Beljanski Foundation to promote and advance his research. The author has been trying to bring attention to the potentially cancer-obliterating powers of plant extracts ever since, though she has found that the medical establishment is no less powerful or self-interested today than it was when it sent those soldiers to Mirko’s lab. Beljanski writes in an energetic prose that lends much tension and drama to her narrative: “I hurried to open the door when I heard a knock, and if I was unnerved by the words spoken to me by Gérard the day before at the cemetery, it was nothing compared to what I felt when I opened the door.” Indeed, the great success of the book is as a nonfiction thriller, with the Beljanski research as a Holy Grail at the center. In this way, the volume is an entertaining read, particularly given the high stakes of the research and the ongoing destruction wrought by cancer. The idea that the cure might be found in something as simple as plant extracts is highly attractive, and those already interested in natural medicine should be sympathetic to the author’s cause. But it’s difficult to take Beljanski completely seriously given the conspiratorial bent of her narrative. (She all but alleges that the French government was attempting to draw out the investigation into her father for the purpose of exhausting and killing him: “When the defendant dies, the prosecutor no longer has to prove his case.”) There is also the indisputably promotional nature of the book to consider (the author is a conference speaker). It’s a compelling yarn nonetheless, and it does grant a window into the intriguing, competitive, and moneyed world of cancer research.

A dramatic account of a controversial natural cancer treatment.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68350-724-6

Page Count: 254

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2018

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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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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