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| ||3 Sections: Poems|
by Vijay Seshadri
Publishers Weekly Deft yet direct, often funny and yet alert to existential quandaries, this third outing from regular New Yorker contributor Seshadri (The Long Meadow) could be the most versatile, as well as one of the most successful, volumes this year. The fluid, disarming short poems take in modern consumer culture and age-old angst, Seshadri's South Asian heritage, his contemporary New York ("the more punishing blocks of Park Avenue"), and our surveillance society, in which nobody really knows anyone, yet anybody can find out where you are: "Why I wanted to escape experience is nobody's business but my own,/ but I always believed I could." Long chatty lines sit beside tight rhymed stanzas, bleakness beside wit ("Purgatory, the Sequel"), and all of it introduces the two long works that comprise the other two sections of this three-part work. One contains Seshadri's expansive prose essay about an Alaskan fishing boat, at "the great intersection of sea and sky. in the gloom at the edge of the world." Even more remarkable is the lengthy "Personal Essay" in verse, a meditation on what it could mean to be personal, to be one person and not another, in this crowded age: Seshadri imagines himself as "the image of/ nothing, a face astonished by itself in the mirror/ (that couldn't be me, could it?)." Some readers will praise him for his light touch; others, for the depth, and the literary history, that he brings to his present-day task-but praise him they should. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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|Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards|
| ||Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease|
by Jeanette Farrell
Book list Gr. 7^-12. From the jacket reproduction of a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder through the rich bibliography, this book illustrates the hope and confusion, the logic and paranoia that humankind has experienced when confronting terrifying diseases. Farrell's vivid prose, which occasionally flirts with melodrama, describes the cultural impact of diseases such as malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis, and AIDS, as she recreates the medical breakthroughs, the racial scapegoating, and the tremendous loss of life during the struggle to cope with and combat the illnesses. What makes this book particularly powerful is Farrell's gift for capturing the small moments that expose humanity's best and worst side: a medical pioneer tracing a town's cholera outbreak to a single water pump; the use of English orphans to test a smallpox inoculation before treating the royal family. Such examples make this fascinating reading as well as a revealing look at the intersection of science and social studies. --Randy Meyer
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-Seven infectious diseases (smallpox, leprosy, plague, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, and AIDS) are covered in this excellent book. For each one, the author highlights the causes of the affliction, the history of its treatment or lack thereof, popular notions and fears that have often led to additional suffering beyond the trauma caused by the illness, and the story of how breakthroughs came about (or what still needs to be done). Filled with fascinating facts, the text is written in a crisp and lucid style that makes the most complex matters understandable. Although this could easily be a dry subject, the author does such a wonderful job of presenting it that some chapters are as exciting as any work of fiction. The black-and-white photos and reproductions illuminate details about historical perceptions of the diseases. A riveting account.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved....More
|National Book Critics Circle|
| ||Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experiments on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present|
by Harriet Washington
Publishers Weekly This groundbreaking study documents that the infamous Tuskegee experiments, in which black syphilitic men were studied but not treated, was simply the most publicized in a long, and continuing, history of the American medical establishment using African-Americans as unwitting or unwilling human guinea pigs. Washington, a journalist and bioethicist who has worked at Harvard Medical School and Tuskegee University, has accumulated a wealth of documentation, beginning with Thomas Jefferson exposing hundreds of slaves to an untried smallpox vaccine before using it on whites, to the 1990s, when the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University ran drug experiments on African-American and black Dominican boys to determine a genetic predisposition for "disruptive behavior." Washington is a great storyteller, and in addition to giving us an abundance of information on "scientific racism," the book, even at its most distressing, is compulsively readable. It covers a wide range of topics the history of hospitals not charging black patients so that, after death, their bodies could be used for anatomy classes; the exhaustive research done on black prisoners throughout the 20th century and paints a powerful and disturbing portrait of medicine, race, sex and the abuse of power. (Dec. 26) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Book list The shameful history of the physical and medical misuse of African Americans began long before the infamous Tuskegee experiment of the 1930s. Washington, a medical journalist, offers the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on and mistreatment of black Americans. Starting with the racist pseudoscience that began when whites first encountered Africans, Washington traces practices from grave robbing to public display of black albinos and the Hottentot Venus, and theories from eugenics to social Darwinism, which have attempted to justify views of racial hierarchy and mistreatment and even enslavement of blacks. Washington draws on medical journals and previously unpublished reports that openly acknowledged racial attitudes and experimentation, protected by the fact that the public and the media rarely read or understood such reports and often shared similar feelings on the subject. Washington also details a litany of medical abuses and experimentation aimed at black men in the military and in prison, as well as women and children, all without proper notification or consent. This is a stunning work, broad in scope and well documented, revealing a history that reverberates in African Americans' continued distrust of the medical profession. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2006 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Choice The legality of African American slavery in the US until the Civil War is the basis for the rabid segregationist policies that the American medical establishment followed until recently. Washington's documentation of the egregious treatment that black Americans received from physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and government at all levels justifies the use of the term apartheid in her title. In addition to the Tuskegee Study, which is now widely known, Washington (independent scholar) provides rampant examples in which African Americans unwillingly have been used, as objects, for new surgical techniques, drug testing, nuclear radiation absorption, biased psychological testing, sterilization, and cadavers. In short, first-class white Americans benefited from medical experimentation on second-class African Americans. Medical Apartheid is well documented, and the author usually defines specialized terms in the text. In a few instances an expected footnote is not provided. The author overuses the guideline concerning the percentage of blacks in the US population when evaluating the composition of small experimental groups. An epilogue indicates the improved state of ethical standards in medical research for all Americans today. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries; all levels. R. D. Arcari University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission....More