An in-depth, informed study of falls with numerous excellent avoidance tips.




A debut compendium of facts and prevention advice demonstrates that falling is no laughing matter.

Disch, who has developed numerous products to help avert slips, trips, and falls (referred to by government agencies as the injury category “STF”), writes: “Falls are the number one reason for emergency room visits every year.” Still, as the author points out, tumbling is sometimes viewed less than seriously; in fact, taking a fall has been a common comedic technique permeating the culture for decades. In addition, the author debunks the perception that the elderly slip most often. He clarifies that “falls create more emergency room visits for children…than for the elderly,” but the older people get, “the more serious the consequences.” Using a plethora of facts peppered throughout the book, Disch makes it clear that STFs can cause severe injuries; a multitude of charts and graphs strongly supports his case. In addition, the author employs several anecdotes that pointedly illustrate various types of STFs. Four sections comprehensively address the topic. The first one concentrates on “Why We Fall,” while the second examines “Where We Fall,” with an emphasis on potential home-based hazards, such as stairs, ladders, poor lighting, and uneven sidewalks. Section 3 features “The Business Side of Slips, Trips, and Falls.” This part contains information about accidents at work but also covers insurance and fall-related litigation, subjects that are essential to understand. The examples used for lawsuits are particularly captivating. At times, the overabundance of data in the book, while intriguing, may cloud the real value of the content, embedded in the final section. Here, the author delivers a prevention technique he calls “The ALERT System,” an acronym that stands for “Aware, Learn, Early, React, Train.” Each of these elements is described in detail, and taken together, the ALERT system does seem a legitimate way to “reduce the number of falls and fall injuries.” Two handy items in Section 4 are the “Home Audit Checklist” and the “Business Audit Checklist,” both designed to help decrease falls.

An in-depth, informed study of falls with numerous excellent avoidance tips.

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9983549-0-3

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Handi Products, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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