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1. Tales from the Bed : On Living,
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2. Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories
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3. Autobiography of a Face
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4. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
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5. Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing
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6. The Pact: Three Young Men Make
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7. Unnatural Death: Confessions of
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8. Gifted Hands
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9. Florence Nightingale: Mystic,
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10. Conduct Under Fire: Four American
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11. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip
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12. I'll Carry the Fork!: Recovering
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13. Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk
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14. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove
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15. The Scalpel and the Silver Bear
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16. Nightingales : The Extraordinary
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17. Why I Wore Lipstick : To My Mastectomy
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18. Making an Exit : A Mother-Daughter
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19. Warrior Soul : The Memoir of a
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20. Partners of the Heart: Vivien

1. Tales from the Bed : On Living, Dying, and Having It All
by Jenifer Estess
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743476824
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 320
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jenifer Estess is a woman on the verge: She's about to launch her own company; she's looking buff and dating vigorously; she's driving in the fast lane -- with the top down. At the age of thirty-five, Jenifer dreams of falling in love and starting a family. Then she notices muscle twitches in her legs. Walking down a city block feels exhausting. At first, doctors write off Jenifer's symptoms to stress, but she is quickly diagnosed with ALS, a fatal brain disease that is absolutely untreatable.

Max out your credit cards and see Paris, suggests one doctor. Instead of preparing to die, Jenifer gets busy. She dreams deeper, works harder, and loves endlessly. For Jenifer, being fatally ill is not about letting go. It's about holding on and reaching -- for family, friends, goals.

Jenifer's girlhood pact with her sisters Valerie and Meredith -- nothing will ever break us apart -- guides them as Jenifer faces down one of the most devastating illnesses known to humankind. That same enduring pact inspires the creation of Project A.L.S., a movement started by the sisters that changes the way science and medicine approach research for ALS and the related diseases Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and which has already raised more than $18 million. Will Project A.L.S. help scientists discover medicine in time for her?

Jenifer answers these questions and others in this beautifully written and wholly inspiring memoir that celebrates a life fuelled by memory. Tales from the Bed forces us to reconsider society's notion of "having it all," and illustrates, more than anything, the importance of endurance, hope, and, most of all, love. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've found a new hero (or heroes)
I have seen the HBO documentary, "Three Sisters," with which this book is associated, and also read this book. Both were amazing and powerful, yet different. I walked away from the book, looking to do something more meaningful with my life, whereas the film was more educational as far as ALS is concerned.

The book kept me up, reading all night long, in a rush to continue with Jenifer on her journey to the end. When I read the final pages, I didn't want to close the book, in fear that the connection I established with Jenifer, Valerie and Meredith would disappear. The writing flowed like a familiar memory and the humor made me smile between the tears that dropped. I feel like I've known the Estess family for my entire life, even though I was introduced to them by mere text in the pages of the book. I recommend this book highly to everyone--not just those who have ALS or know someone with ALS. After all,like Jenifer, ALS could happen to anyone of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful
This was such a great read that revealed a woman with a lot of class who even though she was dying inch by inch continued to live and fight for the hope of a cure for ALS. Through the writing you can feel her struggle, but her sense of humor comes through so just when you are about to cry over the inhumanity of the disease you crack a smile or even laugh out loud at something Jenifer said. The love she and her sisters had for one another and their determination to help Jenifer is awe inspiring. This book makes you forget about your troubles and makes you want to do something to find a cure for ALS. I'd recommend it for anyone who has a heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving story of courage
I picked up this book on the way home from a trip for some airplane reading and could not put it down. I was somewhat familiar with Jenifer's story from seeing her and her sisters on the Today Show and other news programs when they started Project ALS. But her courageous story of life and love and what it means to be family really touched my heart - and gave me some much needed perspective in my life. I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Indomitable spirit an encouragement to all
I deeply admire Jenifer's courage and indomitable spirit. Her sisters' commitment to love, care, and find a cure is also very admirable.

My husband has ALS and I am very glad I read this book. I am challenged to love others more and do my best to make a positive difference in spite of daunting odds.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful summer read - inspiring and filled with love!
I just read Jenifer's wonderful memoir, TALES FROM THE BED and thought it was one of the most beautiful stories I've read in years. With all that was changing in Jenifer's life, she had her sisters and still had hope, and remained funny, heartwarming, and inspiring you can feel the love that she had for life pouring through the pages. I hope that you'll give yourself the gift of reading Jenifer's wonderful story and the legacy she left behind. ... Read more


2. Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
by Rachel Naomi Remen
list price: $12.50
our price: $9.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573226106
Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 3399
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Enthusiastically praised by everyone from Bernie Siegel to Daniel Goleman to Larry Dossey, Rachel Remen has a unique perspective on healing rooted in her background as a physician, a professor of medicine, a therapist, and a long-term survivor of chronic illness. A deeply moving and down-to-earth collection of true stories, this prominent physician shows us life in all its power and mystery and reminds us that the things we cannot measure may be the things that ultimately sustain and enrich our lives. Kitchen Table Wisdom addresses spiritual issues-suffering, meaning, love, faith, courage, and miracles-in the language and authority of our own life experience.

Foreword by Dean Ornish, M.D.

"This is a beautiful book about life, the only true teacher."-Bernie Siegel, M.D.

"Rachel Naomi Remen is nature's gift to us, a genius of that elusive and crucial capacity, the human heart. She has much to teach us about healing, loving, and living."-Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence

"A great healer and a living saint."-Larry Dossey, M.D.

"Heartfelt...compassionate and courageous."-Publishers Weekly

"I recommend this book highly to everyone."-Deepak Chopra, M.D.
... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Remen is a Blessing
Several friends had told me about Kitchen Table Wisdom over the years, and I just put off purchasing it. Then while recovering in the hospital from surgery, the chaplin suggested I read it. I read it during my recovery and have not stopped reading it since. There are so many lessons in the book, and Dr. Remen's selection of stories and writing style present an education on how to be human and to develop a deeper understanding of the humanity each one of us posseses. I look at my life, and those around me in a different way since I read the book. Dr. Remen has taught me that we all have the capacity to make our life a blessing and she is truly a blessing to all that read her words.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
I like to read mostly just before bed, so for this nightowl I am usually reading pretty late after midnight. Sometimes I find a book I just can't put down, I like those kind. Since it is the beginning of a new year according to western calendar anyway, I find the book by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. Kitchen Table Wisdom - Stories that Heal very appropriate for this time of year. I must say the title was the hooker but as I get more into the book, I see it is really much, much deeper than any talk that has ever gone on around my kitchen table. The chapters are rather short & sweet with stories of humanity & love, growing experiences, healing & yes even death experiences all of which end in a message for the reader to ponder on. I don't mind writing in books I buy, you know good spots where I want to come back to later or that I want to remember, & this book is turning out to be filled with those pencil marks! When the author herself makes a personal discovery regarding her life & her soulful purpose, she states "Although I could be analytical & pragmatic, by nature I was an intuitive, even a mystic. I was my grandfather's granddaughter, I had remembered & I was going home. .." It was at this point the author moved from her traditional medical career, into the mind/body health field & we are grateful for her inspiration.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes these stories can actually heal
When I'm feeling really bad about my chronic illness or other things in my life, the stories in this book help me keep going. Dr. Remen is a wonderful story teller and an amazingly creative healer. She uses guided imagery in skillful and loving ways to help clients and readers see the meaning and strengths in their lives.

I admit to bias. Rachel Remen wrote the blurb for the back of my book, The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness. But I was a fan of hers before and since, too. Her other books are also excellent.

David Spero RN www.davidsperoRN.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories that Heal
This beautiful, touching and life- altering book is without doubt one of the best books I've read. Dr.Remen captured my mind, heart and soul from the very first page. The stories she tells about herself, her patients, her family and friends are told with amazing honesty, beauty and grace. This book is about Life with all its different facets, phases and seasons. As a physician, reading this book has made a lot of impact on how I view my role and how I communicate with my patients. I now think of myself not as a "doctor" but as a healer, and know that there is much more to my work than diagnosing diseases and prescribing medicines. I read this book many times, and every time I laugh and I cry and I am inspired and touched. This book is truly one of a kind; it is worth a million stars!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Life affirming
I first read this book when it was given to me as a gift and again more recently as I went through a difficult time in my life. Both times I was struck by the true stories, beautifuly and simply related, that demonstrate over and over our own capacity to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Dr. Remen's medical credentials combined with her own history as a patient give her a deep understanding of healing and disease from both sides. I would recommend this book especially to anyone who is suffering from a physical or emotional illness. But even more so, I recommend it to the doctors out there who realize that your patients are more than just a compilation of symptoms and who are looking for a better way to relate to them. ... Read more


3. Autobiography of a Face
by Lucy Grealy
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060569662
Catlog: Book (2003-03-18)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 4791
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I've spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison."

At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates. In this strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. Vividly portraying the pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasures of wanting to be special, Grealy captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young adult to be torn between two warring impulses: to feel that more than anything else we want to be loved for who we are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.

... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars DISABLED IN ACTION
Lucy has had to contend with cancer from a very early age. At 10, she undergoes surgery and follow-up treatments to remove a cancerous jaw. This unfortunately alters her appearance and Lucy has to live with the hostile stares, cruel comments and stupid remarks made by insensitive people.

Although Lucy uses the word "disabled," it is the opinion of this reviewer that Lucy was disabled in ACTION. As unfortunate as her health and appearance altering condition is, Lucy remains true to her core self. Bright, witty and extremely verbal, Lucy reminds the world at large of how character all too often is eclipsed by appearance. Lucy also inadvertently reminds all who have read this book that "able" is the core part of "disable" and that "dis" is simply a prefix. Therefore, she is more ABLE that disabled. That is a very affirming thought.

Lucy is truly an inspiration and gives a good reminder to ALL persons never to judge somebody based on physical appearance. In this book, Lucy is truly beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars I had Ewing's sarcoma & related to Lucy feeling all alone.
I read Lucy's book several years ago, all in one day. Her words, feelings, and thoughts captured my attention, as I fully understood her battle with cancer. I had Ewing's of the pelvis when I was 15, and there weren't any books that I read back then where the person lived at the end. How utterly depressing, since we are proof that you can survive cancer!

I greatly appreciated the way in which Lucy described what it felt like during chemo treatments and surgeries, because her interpretation is not glossed over. There is no real way to describe the experience except to go through it for yourself to really understand it, but Lucy's words came very close! One day, I wish to write my own novel describing my struggle with cancer as an adolescent.

I'd also love to talk with Lucy, one survivor to another, if possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!,
<br /> This is a great book for anyone who has struggled with their appearance in a world full of beautiful people. A must-read!!! Other remarkable books to read are: Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart and If I Knew Then by Amy Fisher

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment through beautiful proxe
I just finished Autobiography of a Face and I found it just a beautiful, touching read. Lucy writes with such incredible introspection and heartfelt feeling that one must stop from time to time to just reflect on her insight. I truly wondered where she got the strength to endure all that she did. I felt her emptiness in situations and yet her strength inspite of it. Her mother just seemed to totally not get the whole experience or at least couldn't deal with it, so Lucy was left to her own devices. The insight into the boy she meets in the hospital who is paralyzed after a diving accident just blew me away. She writes, "I did it for him. I'd close my eyes to feel the height, see the bright blue of the pool winking below me, bend my legs, and feel the pull in my calves as I jumped up and then down, falling from one world of unknowing into the next one of perpetual regret." What a gut-wrenching insight into the soul of this young man. She allowed me to view the world from a whole new perspective and I thank her wherever she may be. She was definitely an old soul who hopefully fulfilled her karma.

4-0 out of 5 stars seems odd
i found the book very well written, but very, very sad. it seemed weird to me, when searching through the reviews, that most everyone discusses her as if she's alive, unfortunately she no longer is. i feel that that part is inextricable from the rest of the story and its message. this is not a story about a woman who overcame cancer and her feelings of insecurities, it is a story of a person who, after undergoing grueling treatments may have conquered the physical illness, but never its emotional consequences.it garnered a lot of sympathy and empathy from me.i felt so sad for her and wished that she had joined support groups, seen a good therapist, and had had a better support system to start out with.shame that the world has lost her. ... Read more


4. Truth & Beauty : A Friendship
by Ann Patchett
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060572140
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 2189
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a fresh, revealing light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving a person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A BROKEN HEART AND A BRILLIANT MIND
If you've read Lucy Grealy's book AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE, you must read Ann Patchett's book TRUTH & BEAUTY. Ann was Lucy's best friend and tells the story of their loving and literary friendship. Ann's book is filled with Lucy's letters. The book tells of how Lucy was taunted by kids and adults because of her facial cancer. Readers get to see into Lucy's heart and how because of her "ugly" face she thought no one would ever love her. yet she beds every man who says something nice to her out of a need to connect and feel "love.". this book is a fantastic look into the heart and mind of someone with a visible disability. it is about someone with a brilliant mind. and it's filled with triumph and tragedy. And if you haven't read AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE, I recommend that too. In both books you'll see the life of a driven woman hoping her genius and writing abilities will save her from what she thinks is the tragedy of her disability and make someone love her and she will live happily ever after. Sadly Lucy died of a drug overdose a few years ago. was it an accident or suicide?? she was heartbroken. she never thought she would find love. but so many of her friends loved her.

4-0 out of 5 stars Patchett's Frank and Tender First Work of Nonfiction
Female friendships are one of the most complex human relationships, regardless of age. And in TRUTH & BEAUTY, author Ann Patchett does nothing to dispel the mystery of girlfriends. If anything, she adds to it.

Although this book is nonfiction, it reads like fiction. Readers will dive into the story, greedily gathering information about the two main subjects --- Patchett and her friend, Lucy Grealy --- like characters in a novel. They were two young and ambitious women who go directly from Sarah Lawrence to the Iowa's Writers Workshop, the most coveted graduate school for writers. They develop a friendship that straddles the lines of intimacy, and they find literary fame. Along the way they form a bond that is difficult to describe. It spans continents, weathers illnesses both physical and mental, and seems to survive even death. But this is not a work of fiction, and so the eloquent writing of this well-known author packs even more of a punch. These are real people; this is Patchett's life, her beloved friend who lives, metaphorically speaking, just beyond her reach.

Patchett recreates her life with Grealy by interspersing their history with letters she received from Grealy over the years, postmarked from Scotland, New York, Providence, Connecticut, and all of the other places she traveled, taught and lived. They are letters that reveal a literary voice filled with love and admiration for a woman to whom she referred as "Pet." She was a competitive woman who was known to jump into Patchett's lap and ask repeatedly, "Am I your favorite? Do you love me the most?" And inevitably the answer was yes.

"Dearest Anvil, she would write to me six years later, dearest deposed president of some now defunct but lovingly remembered country, dearest to me, I can find no suitable words of affection for you, words that will contain the whole of your wonderfulness to me. You will have to make due with being my favorite bagel, my favorite blue awning above some great little café where the coffee is strong but milky and had real texture to it."

Narrated by Patchett, TRUTH & BEAUTY could be described as an analysis of Grealy, a woman who fights an uphill battle to recover physically from a cancer that robbed her of her outward beauty as a child, though it amplified an inner beauty. Grealy, as Patchett tells us, had a kind of animal magnetism that drew the best of people to her. She underwent at least 35 surgeries to rebuild a jaw decimated by radiation and lived her life subsisting on mashed fruits, ice cream and the occasional milkshake. Despite the staggering number of surgeries, the procedures never quite worked and much of Grealy's life was spent lamenting what she believed were her physical inadequacies. Yet TRUTH & BEAUTY is not a sad story. In fact, it features the gifts of Grealy's best features: her wit, gaiety and zest for life.

And while it focuses on Grealy and Patchett's friendship, TRUTH & BEAUTY may be better described as a study of human nature. Patchett writes about the intricacies of the human heart in THE MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT, THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS and BEL CANTO, and she tackles the subject once again in TRUTH & BEAUTY. The constant search for a love that seems to be right in front of a person's eyes is a recurring theme for Patchett, who weaves a beautiful if not frustrating story of a friendship that she worked diligently to maintain.

In life many people struggle to find reciprocal friendships in men and women. And, frequently, outsiders perceive even the best of friendships to be one-sided. This may also be the case here. Readers will complete TRUTH & BEAUTY with a keen appreciation for the love that exists between women, the unwavering loyalty that friends can maintain through years of turmoil and emotional trials. And while loyalty (as we see in this 257-page story) may falter occasionally, it can withstand the test of time. And perhaps even beyond.

--- Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw

4-0 out of 5 stars Not recommended for tender sensitivities
Well written, strangely powerful and often horrifying. I can't quite recommend it. It's a special sort of pathology that many of us have encountered.

4-0 out of 5 stars Painful and Questionable
I read this book directly after reading Autobiography of a Face. Lucy seemed to have a huge black hole in her soul that she constantly looked to others to fill up. Obviously she never learned to love herself, so her friends were her mirrors to her soul. She searched endlessly for love on the outside but her greatest quest was her search for the ability to love herself with all her physical flaws.
I saw Lucy's repeated surgeries simply a way to stay connected with something she knew and a place where she felt comfortable and accepted. The surgeries were physically painful but they gave her an opportunity to have everyone care for her openly and with such extraordinary allegiance, a true sign of love. Lucy could never quite embrace it and assimilate that love into her psyche.
Was it guilt that drove Ann to write this book wondering if there wasn't something she could have done to make the ending different? I felt a sense of relief when Lucy's life was finally over. What quality did she ever have in her existence? I think Ann went above and beyond the realm of friendship. One has to wonder why she hung in there through everything for a one-way friendship? Why was Ann so possessed by Lucy? It's a question we will never know but one that the book continually asks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful tribute
Patchett's book is a beautifully written tribute to an exceptionally intense friendship. The author takes you through her relationship with Lucy Grealy although side-stepping prolonged analysis of why their bond was so tight. The reader can draw his or her own conclusion; close attention should be paid to the excerpts from Grealy's letters, which reveal her intellect, her delight in words and her charisma. One thing that astonished me, despite having read Autobiography of a Face when it was first published, was how much physical discomfort Grealy constantly dealt with. Her problem was far more than just an aesthetic problem -- she had only six teeth left, couldn't chew food normally and was constantly in danger of choking because she couldn't close her lips. It amazes me that she was able to be as productive as she was despite to this condition, even before factoring in the multiple surgeries. Grealy clearly had the heart of a lion and it's no surprise that people were drawn to her inner strength, even when it was clouded by her understandable depression and feelings of isolation and want. ... Read more


5. Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer
by TRACY KIDDER
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375506160
Catlog: Book (2003-09-09)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 1908
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town. He has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative.” This powerful and inspiring new book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.

Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity" - a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds with the force of a gathering revelation,” says Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Harr says, “[Farmer] wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book will change the way you see it.”
... Read more

Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars Be Careful: Makes You Think
I like Tracy Kidder, but think his writing here is weaker than it has been in other books. However, I couldn't put it down. Not just because Dr. Farmer is a compelling person. Somehow, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Dr. Farmer, the problems he's dealing with, Kidder's reaction: together, this book somehow manages to be both enjoyable and unsettling. the lyric in Jesus Christ Superstar said "there will be poor always." It's a great read -- fast, interesting, lots of human interest -- but the bottom line is that this book forces the reader to try to reason through what's the right approach to inequity, what's our duty to the poor, how can national borders matter in the face of suffering. Very inspiring to learn about Dr. Farmer's successes; can't stop thinking about what my OWN sense of the issues are. One thing's for sure: while I may not agree 100% with Farmer's approach as a model for everyone to follow, there's no question he's made complacency less of an option I can live with. I highly recommend this book for anyone who cares about issues of human suffering, poverty, health, philanthropy, international relations, race relations, leadership.

5-0 out of 5 stars I nominate Paul Farmer for sainthood
Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder tells us about Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious disease specialist who has been working in Haiti since 1982. Farmer founded an apolitical organization that's the only source of medical care for hundreds of thousands of peasants. For his Herculean efforts, in 1993 he received a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation - and of course he plowed the money right back into his organization.
That Farmer has chosen this path is not so surprising when one considers his unconventional childhood, which included living on a leaky boat and in a bus. As a scholarship student at Duke (anthropology major), he worked in the NC tobacco fields with Haitians. After graduation, he spent a year in Haiti and then went to Harvard Medical School. He's married and has a child, but he sees them infrequently; he rarely sleeps, is a workaholic (duh!), and seems to inspire an uncommon degree of devotion among his coworkers and his patients.
Buy this book, and be aware that part of your money will doubtless find its way back to Haiti. Then send an additional donation to Partners in Health.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's all true-Paul Farmer is the real thing
The book was great. Tracy Kidder writes the truth and his wanting to write about Paul Farmer shows his insight, his awareness. I know Paul Farmer and what Kidder has written in this book is all true. The beauty of Paul's life, person and mission aside-he has the ability to inspire people, to bring the best out in people. Even if he meets them only once-as he did me. The fact that Kidder wrote this book will multiply that effect to thousands more people. The strong reactions that Paul's life and work has on people shows how many of us share his love for humanity, and his story wakens what is inside us. Not everyone has the god-given gifts of Paul Farmer but many relate to his heart and spirit. I like the idea that he is a professor. I know before I met up with him I was doing nothing in my field and after just a few words with him, I managed to accomplish a few steps toward human rights advances for women. He is someone who is almost christ-like in this way and no wonder Tom White and others wrote checks and made the commitment to the poor. I cannot say enough good things about this man, and his flaws-his humanity- just make him closer to all of us. His academic work reminds me sometimes of the great writer Ben Okri-the notion of innocents caught up in difficult and wicked worlds a recurring theme in his work. Paul loves and puts that love into transcendant forms -spirit transformed into concrete results. People wonder why his beautiful wife and child are not mentioned in the book. They are, and the story told is quite enough. Nabokov never wanted anyone writing about his wife either. Why do people need to hear this detail-its already admitted by Kidder, by Paul Farmer himself that he is human, no more, with flaws, with limits despite no sleep etc., he is a workaholic and yeah that is a problem. We know that it is Tom White's money that gave credibility to Paul at a place like Harvard-but Paul proved Tom right. He is real and that is the hope of his story-if he can do what he dreams and knows is right, in spite of his shortcomings, human limitations, it gives fuel to the rest of us. He reminds me of a kindred spirit, Jonathan Mann, MD, also a very approachable, compassionate man, who could inspire people to access the best in themselves and move mountains. There are many people like Paul who do the work he loves in obscurity. We never hear about them or meet them so we lose the gift of thier inspiration. Paul in being public, writing and extending himself out there gives us a view of that world. The book is marvellous and the best part about it is that it is true story!

4-0 out of 5 stars The man who walks the walk.
You may think he is crazy, or a commie, or a dreamer but you have to admire Paul Farmer. I think most likely he is a truly good genius. Alot of WLs (white liberals) talk the talk but his guy walks the walk, about a million miles of it. He is sort of a Mother Theresa + doctor + scientist. Sure he may come off as abrupt or self righteous from time to time but I believe this guy really does care for the downtrodden of the world. If you were inspired by this book as I was consider making a donation to his organization, Partners in Health, which is what I did as soon as I read the last page.
The book itself is somewhat superficial in it's analysis of Farmer. I am concerned about his family, for instance, and his daughter having a long distance dad. I'm not sure how he reconciles this. I guess Gandhi had the same issue. I think Kidder did an OK job though and I would not fault him for his introspection as other reviewers have.
All in all a solid uplifting book that makes you feel good about mankind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patria Es Humanidad--the only real nation is humanity
This is Tracy Kidder's chronicle of Paul Farmer's ongoing quest to wake our consciousness to the plagues coming out of third world poverty and to shake us into recognizing the suffering of our fellow humans around the globe. Paul Farmer is a super-hero on the front lines of infectious disease, attacking drug-resistant TB in Haiti, Peru and the prisons of Russia. His global fight for funding for AIDS and TB treatment has gained his organization Partners in Health huge grants from the MacArthur, Gates and Soros foundations. Farmer backs down from no obstacles in his quest to bring health care, one patient at a time, to the poorest and most down-trodden patients on earth.
A natural leader, his influence has drawn nations together in
their fight against poverty, hunger and disease. This is the most important story Tracy Kidder has told. Farmer's constant questioning of why some individuals need so much wealth, when most of the world goes hungry, is not an easy thing to take.
Should be required reading for high school seniors. ... Read more


6. The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream
by Sampson, Md. Davis, George, Md. Jenkins, Rameck, Md. Hunt, Lisa Frazier Page
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157322989X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 22135
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day-they are all doctors.

This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together.
... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Power of Friendship and Positive Competitiveness Display
"The Pact" is an incredible book! I just finished reading the remarkable journey completed by Drs. Sam Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt. It's an easy, quick read ~250 pages.

If you're not familiar with their story, they are 3 young, African-American men from Newark that establish a pact at 17-years old to become doctors. Over the years, they run into many obstacles (peer pressure, arrest, finances, and family issues) that tend to dissuade so many young people from pursuing their dream. With the "I got your back" support of each other, mentors they encountered throughout their journey, and God they become doctors despite how many people had presumed their future would turn out.

Dr. George Jenkins, probably the most focused in the group, knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a dentist. In high school, the three friends attend a college presentation offering full scholarships to minority students interested in the medical field. Knowing that neither he nor his friends could afford college THIS OFFER would be their ONLY way to attend college...the formation of the pact.

Surprisingly, after completing college and med school, Sam and Rameck were still unsure if they wanted to be doctors. Sam saw business/management as his future and Rameck wanted to be an actor (he'll settle on being a rapper). (If I didn't know the outcome, I would have been in suspense until the bitter end waiting to learn if they became doctors.) The death of an important person in each of their lives confirmed that medically helping others is what they were meant to do in life.

If you're in the education field or work closely with children in your community this is an excellent book to pick up when you...

- feel like what can I do to get through to this person
- need a testimony that success is not by luck but achieved through faith, perseverance, and support from others
- need a roadmap to better mentor a person in need

"The Pact" is an amazing story of inspiration and motivation to get (primarily) black teens to see beyond their environment, current situation, and look ahead with a plan for tomorrow. "The Pact" also displays the need for adults to begin mentoring children before they reach their teens. The book concludes with the doctors providing the "how-to's" to make a pact work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!
There are times that I think my life was or still is hard. Well, I'm a black female who grew up in a middle-class home with two teachers as parents. College was as automatic as sleeping and eating. But, for these young men in the book "The Pact", college was as uncertain as winning the lottery. I always knew that our young black boys growing up in the inner-city had it super hard, but this book allowed me to see another side of our young brothas. They all have dreams as little kids, even though they don't see anyone in their neighborhood to emulate. Somehow, someway, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins all found the determination to succeed and become doctors. Their positive story is proof that just one person can make a difference in a kid's life. Everyone needs someone to look up to; someone to follow.

We all have gifts we can share. Read this book and feel blessed that someone in your life took the time to mentor you and be there for you; not everyone has that in their lives. I am so proud of these young men! Not only are they smart and positive, but they are cute too! What a great combination! God has truly blessed them and their family.

What a refreshing book. Thanks to Tavis Smiley for recommending it on the Tom Joyner Show.

5-0 out of 5 stars A HAPPY ENDING
This book was very informative. I really loved this book not only because they are from my hometown Newark, New Jersey. But it was an interesting novel. They came from the ghetto and turned out to be very distinguished gentlemen. I am so happy I read a sucess story from my hometown. I recommend this book to people that feel is though there is no way out in the ghetto when there actually is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
I was pleased to read a book about three African-American men, from disadvantaged backgrounds, who'd beat the odds.They supported each other through thick and thin, and fulfilled their dream of becoming Doctors.They remained humble and are giving back by helping people who are at a disadvantage. They are positive, beautiful, and successful young men. God has truly gave the three Doctors a great annointing. I wish more people would read this book.I was upset when I read the last page. I did not want the book to end! The Doctors are a true inspiration. May God continue to bless them.

5-0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING BOOK ABOUT THE POWER OF A PLAN
I will definitely be giving this book to every young African American male that I know. It's such a powerful testimony of the power of the people that you surround yourself with and a plan. ... Read more


7. Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner
by MICHAEL M. BADEN
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804105995
Catlog: Book (1990-03-28)
Publisher: Ivy Books
Sales Rank: 9336
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Forensic pathologist Michael Baden was a medicalexaminer in New YorkCity for more than 25 years.Now he works forthe New York State Police and teachesforensic medicine. This engrossing book covers: (1) several famous cases, including Baden's personal re-examination of the autopsy findings forMartin Luther King andJohn F. Kennedy; (2) unusual cases Badenhad as medical examiner for NYC, such as anautopsy on a dining room table at the Plaza Hotel; (3) how medical examiners decide onmeans of death, with a section on poisons; (4) the history of coroners and medicalexaminers since 12th century England;(5) disturbing politics involved in the office ofthe Chief MedicalExaminer of NYC; (6) identification of the dead; (7) time of death; (8)multiple-murder cases; (9) an almost perfect murder; (10) close calls, including neardeaths during sex; (11) cases of mistaken diagnosis; and (12) autopsy findings that shedlight on what happened in the Attica uprising. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Jaded
In 1977, Congress set up the Select Committee on Assassinations to look into JFK's assassination. Baden was in charge of the forensic pathology investigation and set up a panel of nine medical examiners. Others investigated the non-forensic areas. Baden feels that the conspiracy theories abounded due to a poor medical-legal autopsy performed on the president by Commander Humes who'd never done one before. Baden feels these theories still abound because he was not allowed to testify about the committee's forensic findings. The Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that theirs was a second gunman based on acoustical evidence.

I think the book was poorly organized. In his Introduction, Baden explains the science of forensic pathology. He followed this with a chapter on Heroes and Conspiracies possibly for the sensationalism. It makes more sense to follow the explanation of forensic pathology with the following chapter order History, The Education of a Medical Examiner, Autopsy, Manhattan Postmortem (about city politics and how they interfere with ability of the ME to do his job), Earthly Remains, Time of Death then Heroes and Conspiracies with the remaining chapters in the same order.

The book provides a lot of valuable information on the profession however I recommend reading Cause of Death (which I also reviewed) by Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D. with Mark Curriden and Benjamin Wecht for the story behind JFK's assassination. Wecht was also on the Select Committee on Assassinations.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent and fascinating nonfiction
You might have seen Dr. Michael Baden as a guest commentator on the cable news shows or as a featured expert on HBO's Autopsy series. He's one of the best forensic pathologists in the country, and he's written a definitive and concise treatment of his profession in Unnatural Death. Near the front of the book is one of the best and most convincing segments on the JFK assasination and the single bullet theory. This alone makes the book worth getting, especially if you want a solid but short objective treatment of the single bullet theory (and don't want to delve into Gerald Posner's Case Closed).

But that's just the beginning. Baden goes on to look at a variety of celebrity deaths and types of deaths through the eyes of the forensic pathologist. He makes a great case for the need for this specialty and for how much it can contribute to society by a fuller understanding of death and its processes. The celebrity parts are reminiscent of the Coroner books by Thomas Noguchi (which I would also recommend if you're into this sort of thing), but it's the comprehensive treatment of the specialty of forensic pathology that sets this book apart.

2-0 out of 5 stars When great stories go bad
This book had amazing potential in its premise alone: the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City gives us insight into the medical (and often political) twists and turns behind the scenes of highly publicized unnatural deaths. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a HUGE letdown.

The writing was poor and often confusing. Not a smooth read by any means - very fragmented, scattered and random. The stories themselves pull you in because they are interesting, true and controversial, but then the author leaves you with about a dozen loose ends and unanswered questions. For example, in Chapter 11, he talks about the murder of Gail Morris. We are taken through the story only to be left hanging at the end. Why did Leonard Barco confess? Too many important details are left out. I feel like I only read half a book.

Then, there is the story of Miriam Weinfeld (Chapter 5). Baden claims that she could not have been raped because her hymen was intact, making her a virgin. This is misleading, since that is not a definitive test of virginity (it is possible for a small percentage of women have an elastic hymen, which does not break). So, for someone who does know that, that definitive statement is misleading. Little details like this - statements made without any qualifications - made me distrust the book. I am sure Michael Baden has some great stories to tell (and is obviously qualified to tell them), but the writing screwed them up. It's too bad...it could have been an incredible book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the two . . .
I thought this book was better than Michael Baden's other book "Dead Reckoning." This was a very interesting read. I learned a few things about the industry of medical examiners and forensics. I wouldn't recommend this book to those who have a weak stomach, because the author doesn't hold back the details in quite a few areas of the book. For those people who love C.S.I. (you know, that popular forensic television show?) or are simply curious about the industry this book will be an interesting read! I even gave this book to some friends of mine and they enjoyed it just as much as I did. The style of writing makes the topic easy to understand for the average Joe Smoe. Good book, I like it!

1-0 out of 5 stars You've got to be kidding
I've been a fan of Michael Baden ever since watching my first HBO special. I've seen several of them. I decided to buy a book by Baden even though I don't read many books. I knew he was involved with the HSCA investigation of Kennedy, which comprises over 90% of the books I have read, and was aware of his conclusions at the time. I would have figured by 1989 he would have somewhat changed his tune. He hadn't and as far as I know still hasn't. Any respect I had for this man as an expert in the field is now tainted by what I read in the beginning of this book. Dr. Baden makes several statements that when not cross-examined seem compelling but are if fact grossly mis-representative or unbelievable false. I can't believe someone of his caliber would stoop as low as he did. He provides his "opinion" but not the cross-examination that his opinion warrants. If he did then he would have to explain himself and based on SEVERAL comments he made it is simply not possible. Someone of his esteem should have been decent enough to make an attempt to examine both sides. An example would be his opinion that the reason Kennedy was thrown back and to the left was because the car accelerated at that precise moment. What a joke! Can you explain Dr. Baden why NONE of the other occupants of the car were not forced back and to the left as well. Based on the way Jackie was sitting she would have been thrown around more than her husband, but that didn't happen. Further explain why the head was thrown back and to the left with much greater force than the rest of the body. The video evidence clearly shows that the head was thrown back first, and with greater force, with the body following simply because it was attached. This is not speculation based on faulty evidence which Mr. Baden gives. This is fact based on hard and fast evidence that anyone viewing the Zapruder film can see. Unfortunately when someone with an ego such as Baden's he has to maintain his ridiculous opinion. The Kennedy assassination is fascinating in that it is really the only event where conspiracy can be proved by watching a very short film. Any hunter or marksman, not to mention scientist, will tell you when you shoot something the force of the projectile will propel that something in the same direction the projectile is traveling. It is that simple. Scientifically as well as logically what you see on the Zapruder film cleary shows the direction the bullet that killed the president was traveling. You can dispute that all you want but run a million tests and 1 million times the results will all be the same. Oh yeah Dr. Baden also contradicts himself by vehemently stating that bullets simply don't fall out of a wound. Then later he speculates that in fact that very thing did happen. Did he bother to proof read what he wrote? ... Read more


8. Gifted Hands
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0310214696
Catlog: Book (1996-12-08)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 18624
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the mass market edition of the popular book by Dr. Ben Carson whose inspiring story tells of a frustrated inner-city kid whose faith in God helped him become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. ... Read more

Reviews (93)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gifted hands
This book is a book about a man named ben carson. He was born in inner city of detroit. Ben decided he wanted to be a doctor. At the age of ten he started thinking of what colleuge he was going to. When he was in his last year of high school he was accepted to yale and maryland but he went to yale. In 1985 Ben carson did his first major surgey and did a great job. In 1987 Ben carson did a surgery on the binder twins who heads were joined together and did a great. Ben was a model youth student. He worked real hard in his life. And it payed of real great for him. In 1989 Ben carson was recieved a doctor degree and was very happy. What Ben also did a lot was help teenagers do real good in life he tried his hardest to make tenneagers recieve there goals. He also loved his job more then anythind in life. But he lived in a struggle house so he helps his parents out in life. Thats what makes him really gifted. This what makes this a book a four and a real close five.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gifted Hands: An autobiography by Ben Carson
Gifted Hands, the inspiring transformation of Ben Carson, was a great autobiography! As he faced terrible times during his rough childhood years, he still managed to become successful.

Ben Carson was a troublesome juvenile growing up in a terrible neighborhood. He did not excel in school and therefore battled an anger problem which almost caused his best friend's life. His lack of self-control always led him into a rage that would hurt others as well as himself both physically and emotionally. Carson later realized that he had a serious problem and wanted to change. He decided to transform from a immature angry boy into an unique man that impacts other peoples lives.

This novel revealed an interesting zeal of success and motivation that inspires readers of all ages. It led to having hope, never giving up, and striving to become the individual that God wants you to become.

Dr. Carson suceeded and now is a brain seargeant at Johns Hopkins Hospitol in Baltimore, Maryland. One of the most inspiring surgeries he ever performed was on separating simese-twins who were joined at the head. Dr. Carson also speaks to young men and women to encourage them to turn their lives around to make something of themselves. After this breathtaking autobiography, Carson remains one of the most highly respected and intriguing African-Americans in the history of America. I actually had the opportunity to meet Dr. Carson at Johns Hopkins one day while visiting my father when he was being hospitalized there. After that short time talking with him, I could already begin to admire him. This book,Gifted Hands will change any readers life for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good.
It's a very good book to read, particularly for the younger generation who are still on their way to realizing their goals in life, in terms of profession. My only problem with it was that ever since Ben got his reading glasses, every single little thing went well for him. The path was butter-smooth for him ever since, except for one or two incidents or issues. Maybe that's the way it really was for him, but it made it difficult for me to be able to relate to it. It's probably because our lives are so contrasting...luck does not come easy for me, although I do work hard. Other than that, I found it a quick enjoyable read. I wish Carson the best of luck too. He's a good guy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Contagious inspiration and motivational drive
GIFTED HANDS, an autobiographical look into the life of one of the best neurosurgeons in the U. S. of A, is so unbelievably inspirational and poignant. If 100 people simultaneously read this book, I assure you at least one of them would walk away a changed person! I know Ben Carson has changed me. From now on, I'm vowing to do my absolute best. This year of homeschooling has given me many opportunities to "slack off" as one might say - I've taken a few of those opportunities. Even though I ended up with mostly As, I'm vowing to give my all into my academic performance next year. Ben Carson's motivational drive is absolutely contagious!

Benjamin Carson, M.D started out on the mean Detroit streets. His father had to leave the family after it was found he was practically living a double life: he had a girlfriend and another family while married to Ben's mother. While his mother assured him the family would be fine, they had to struggle to make ends meet. Yet all the while, she kept pushing and pushing Ben to be the best he could possibly be. All the while, she knew he had it in him to get out of the Detroit ghetto in which they lived. All the while, she knew he'd make something of himself. And he did.

We see an amazing transformation from a skeptical kid, unsure of life, to an intelligent neurosurgeon with a heart of gold - so much so that he can't help but break down and cry when surgery results in the death of a patient. He is a person who made the best of his education, as well as his college years. He went from being the best to simply doing his best and can be regarded as an inspiration to all because his standard of life he began with wasn't as favorable as many rich families who have attended Ivy League colleges for generations. In his case, he along with his older brother, Curtis, were the first in the family to attend colleges. Curtis ended up at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and Ben enrolled at Yale University, where he met his wife, Candy.

Ben's beginnings were certainly not easy. Signs of determination showed as young as the age of 10. He started out as the "class dummy" in school, frequently getting every single question on his math tests wrong. But then, through hard work and a lot of reading at the local library, plus a new presciption for glasses, he expanded his knowledge in every subject. Soon, "good" wasn't good enough. Ben was driven to be the best. In fact, he was so driven that he won a full scholarship to the renowned Yale University.

God has clearly played a pivotal role in Ben's life. Before operating, he always prays to the Lord. But one life experience in particular especially is one I won't soon forget. Ben feared flunking a Yale exam and knew last-minute cramming would do him no good. As he slept, he dreamt of the mathematical facts and figures and equations. The next day, he nervously proceeded to take the exam and realized many of the questions had been in his prior dream! After a lot of worrying, Ben scored a 97 on the exam. He knew it was God's way of helping him.

What I most enjoy about this autobiography is the way in which Ben addresses the readers. Whether his audience ranges from the age of 13 to the age of 99, either age should enjoy it. Clearly, Ben is a brilliant genius. He speaks eloquently, yet he doesn't throw in the "big words" he could probably use if he chose to. Instead, his story is told through simple language that anyone can understand.

Ben Carson ought to be regarded as a role model for today's youth. Those not on the right path to a successful future could especially benefit, as a book like this could assist in a serious straightening out of priorities. As I mentioned before, Ben's motivational drive is contagious and inspiring! This down-to-earth doctor's story is really meant for everyone, teens and adults alike.

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awful
This book was truly a painful read. Carson's story is one dimensional, boring, and horribly written. There seem to be no low points in his life, only highs where he suceeds apparently against all odds.

His life seems to occur in a vacuum, with very little sense of time or place. He says he live in a poor area of Detroit as a child, but there is extremely little description of the place or its people, or how his life is extraordinary compared to everyone else who was raised there. You can't imagine what it was like for him at all. The people in Carson's life are poorly and unimaginatively described. In the first half of the book, Carson talks about his mother very much and how much she influenced him, but only mentions her once in the rest of the book. His mother seems to be a talking head, not a real person with any kind of physical weight, but just a voice. It is hard to picture her or to think of her or anybody else in the book as a real person and therefore it is hard to care about any of them.

Although Carson has done a lot of good for people, he comes off as arrogant, talking about his endless string of sucesses and how humble he is on every page . He has no sense of humour irony, or subtlety. In the end, this book is just hollow words with no soul. ... Read more


9. Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Reformer
by Barbara Montgomery Dossey
list price: $55.95
our price: $55.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874349842
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Sales Rank: 127348
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Florence Nightingale brought to life
As a nurse and amateur Florence Nightingale historian, I was so excited to find this book. The content did not disappoint me. It offers the best coverage of the life of this extraordinary woman I've seen or read. This book is exciting, informative, and beautiful.

Nightingale transformed healthcare in the nineteenth century, and built a foundation for modern nursing. Dossey's clear writing, coupled with her extensive research, presents an enjoyable, comprehensive picture of the significance of Nightingale's life. The historical photographs and illustrations complemented the text and were a delight to view.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in nursing, history or the biography of an amazing woman. Thank you Barbara Dossey for bringing Florence Nightingale to life in this wonderful book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer
This beautiful book is the most comprehensive and creative examintation I have ever read of the life of this remarkable woman. The book is profusely illustrated. Many of the images are in full color and have not been previously printed. Words and images combine to produce insights of incredible depth and beauty. The author's straightforward and readable writing style reminds readers of Nightingale's own writings. Clearly, Dossey has a connection with the fascinating Miss Nightingale that spans the boundaries of time and space. This is lucky for us, the readers of this sesntive portrait of one of the most amazing women in history. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in feminist history, healing, the path of the mystic, leadership, or the history of nursing. It will surely become a classic in its genre!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Inspiring Book
I knew of Florence Nightingale's nursing activities before reading this book but had no idea of the extent of her self-discipline, dedication and accomplishments. She was a systems analyst, administrator, networker and mystic who devoted her life to doing God's work. She was also a prolific writer of books, lay reports, pamphlets and thousands of letters. The author provides a wealth of background material describing the historic times and places associated with Florence Nightingale. One of the things I appreciated about this book were the many maps and photographs appropriately placed near the text about the person or places.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding biography
This is unquestionably the best biography of Nightingale ever written. The author reminds us that Nightingale was one of the first statisticians -- one of the first members of the statistical society in the U.K. and for many years the only woman member. Nightingale collected and published voluminous statistics about health care (she proved that the rate of childbirth fever was lower among women cared for by midwives vs those cared for by physicians and surmised correctly that the difference was that the midwives washed their hands and established hygiene in the birth chamber. The physicians came to the birth room covered with blood from dissections.) The germ theory of disease had not been developed -- but she was able to reduce the death rate in the hospitals in Crimea by ensuring cleanliness, safe water and good food for the patients.) She was also a suffragist and one of the first signers of a petition in support of suffrage put forward by her
friends, the philosopher John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet Taylor, who were prominent proponents of women's suffrage. Mill asked Nightingale to dedicate herself to the cause of female suffrage and she replied that there were others as qualified as she; she was needed to reform the British military, hospital and medical systems. Nightingale shook up the British military, hospital and medical establishments. She had many enemies because of her work -- and they became even more virulent when she was proved right. Unfortunately their calumnies persist to this day. While doing the work which first brought her to public attention she contracted Crimean Fever -- a common complaint of those who served in the Crimea War. Dossey points out that recent research indicates that Crimean Fever was probably brucellosis which was and is epidemic and endemic in the Crimea. (It occurs now, too, in the U.S. among persons who work with infected cattle.) Nightingale was a very devout Christian. At 17 she sought a direction for her life. She came to feel that she was called to serve the sick and took a vow of chastity when she was 17. Barbara Dossey is an R.N. with a Master's degree in nursing. She has written texts on intensive care nursing and on wholistic health. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing -- which signfies the high respect of her research peers for her work. This is the finest contribution she has made and that says a lot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on the History of Nursing
learn about the history of the nursing profession... very interesting... lots of beautiful pictures ... Read more


10. Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945
by JohnGlusman
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670034088
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 1987
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The fierce, bloody battles of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines are legendary inthe annals of World War II. Those who survived faced the horrors of life as prisoners ofthe Japanese.

In Conduct Under Fire, John A. Glusman chronicles these events through theeyes of his father, Murray, and three fellow navy doctors captured on Corregidor in May1942. Here are the dramatic stories of the fall of Bataan, the siege of "the Rock," and thedaily struggles to tend the sick, wounded, and dying during some of the heaviestbombardments of World War II. Here also is the desperate war doctors and corpsmenwaged against disease and starvation amid an enemy that viewed surrender as a disgrace.To survive, the POWs functioned as a family. But the ties that bind couldn’t protect themfrom a ruthless counteroffensive waged by American submarines or from the B-29 raidsthat burned Japan’s major cities to the ground. Based on extensive interviews withAmerican, British, Australian, and Japanese veterans, as well as diaries, letters, and warcrimes testimony, this is a harrowing account of a brutal clash of cultures, of a race warthat escalated into total war.

Like Flags of Our Fathers and Ghost Soldiers, Conduct UnderFire is a story of bravery on the battlefield and ingenuity behind barbed wire, onethat reveals the long shadow the war cast on the lives of those who fought it. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL HISTORY
This book, about a subject that many Americans are unaware, is both a personal journey and taut war history. America in the early Forties was still dealing with the depression, and how it would conduct itself, while much of the world was already at war.

This story, not about generals or admirals, is instead a tribute to dedicated, unassuming men caught in the throes of the terrible war that finally found America in 1941.

John Glusman actually writes about four different things: the allure of Asia to these young men, the defeat in the Philippines, their struggles to survive, and finally to recover their lives.

His style is easily readible and compelling.

I have read many books on this topic, and the only one that compares is John Toland's, But Not In Shame.

Please read this book!It is a magnificent work of history, and a moving personal tribute. ... Read more


11. Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D
by Lizzie Simon
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743446607
Catlog: Book (2003-06-18)
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Sales Rank: 47374
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

By all appearances, Lizzie Simon was perfect. She had an Ivy League education, lots of friends, a loving family, and a dazzling career as a theater producer by the age of twenty-three. But that wasn't enough: Lizzie still felt alone in the world, and largely misunderstood. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager, she longed to meet others like herself; she wanted to hear the experiences of those who managed to move past their manic-depression and lead normal lives. So Lizzie hits the road, hoping to find "a herd of her own." Along the way she finds romance and madness, survivors and sufferers, and, somewhere between the lanes, herself. Part road trip, part love story, Detour is a fast-paced, enduring memoir that demystifies mental illness while it embraces the universally human struggle to become whole. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Lizzie Simon, a charming, witty, intelligent, bipolar young woman travels cross country interviewing fellow sufferers. I enjoyed this book, although I kept returning to the cover to look at her pictures, because she is so cute. Bipolar disorder is no joke, but that doesn't stop the author from having a good life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A First in a New Genre about People with Mental Illness
Lizzie Simon experienced her first manic-depressive episode at age 17 in her senior year of high school while studying in Paris. It happened after she received early acceptance to Columbia University. Simon, now a 1998 graduate of Columbia University, quit her $900 a week job as creative producer of New York's Flea Theater at age 23, immediately after she helped them win the esteemed Obie Award. She had unresolved issues in her life, unexplored feelings left behind from the scary time in high school when her mind fell apart and was restored again with Lithium. She went away to college, sought and found success, and the subject of her daily battles with her life-saving pills never came up. She longed for closure. She searched for her sign, her way out.
"I kept receiving signs telling me I had other work to do. It was as if success had made a lot of noise in my head go away about being successful. I wasn't screeching at myself to make more and more. I wasn't basking in the public attention I was receiving or gloating through the streets of Tribecca. No, all of a sudden, it seemed things go really quiet in my head. I longed for a new direction, a new devotion. And then the signs emerged. The detour, my detour, lay ahead," she writes in Detour.
Then, she saw the sign. As she rode the subway back to her Brooklyn apartment, she saw a sign with a woman in a business suit. In big lettering over the woman it read, "For Mentally Illness, Treatment is Working". A few days later in the NYPress' "Best Of" section a commentary was written calling the ad "Best Scary Subway" ad of the year. The stigmatization and prejudice shown on behalf of the Press' editors moved her to write and send an editorial. From this editorial, spawned ideas for a new project aiming at de-stigmatizing mental illness and at the same time unite young sufferers.
"I am creating this project for the terrorized seventeen-year-old who has just been through hell and back. She's on the precipice of the rest of her life but she doesn't have the faith to know it, because all she can see, all anybody is showing her, is the dead end she feels surrounding her. I am making this journey for her, to help her through this, the hardest time in her life...I think she's worth my time, my energy, my art, and my honesty, because I think if she breaks through she'll change the world," she writes.
Detour began another part of her journey with this illness. She interviewed six other young successful people with bipolar disorder all between ages 16 and 30 chronicling their stories and asking them for advice on how they cope and deal with parents, coworkers, teachers, and friends. The story takes place in Simon's fathers's white SUV as she cruises from her parent's home in Rhode Island down the East Coast and out to California in search of her herd-her herd of other successful, high-functioning young people with mood disorders like herself. Along the way, she meets some odd characters, courageous souls, and battles terrifying existential woes, which almost cause her to abandon her quest and go home. She even adds some spice by including her love affair with a bipolar drug addict and fellow New Yorker throughout her book project.
Simon sketches with simplicity, portraying her six interviewees with honesty and sheer determination to survive and even thrive. Her empathetic interviews with other young bipolars as well as her witty insights into her own story make the book come alive. This book defines a beginning in a whole new genre of fiction and creative nonfiction about young people and mental illness. This is a must-have for every young person, their doctor, their friends, and their school counselors.
In 2002, Simon served as an assistant field producer for the MTV special "True Life: I'm Bipolar," which was inspired by Detour and HBO recently optioned for the rights to make the movie.
A recipient of a grant from the Federation for Families for Children's Mental Health, Simon is a frequent guest speaker and freelance writer. She also teaches creative writing classes and is working on a novel with a character who loses her brother to suicide. You can visit her web site at www.lizziesimon.com.

4-0 out of 5 stars Unusual memoir
Lizzie Simon had everything except peace of mind. Having been diagnosed during her teenage years with bipolar disorder, she'd never quite come to grips with her condition and felt misunderstood and unable to live the normal life she craved. So she took off to travel and found her way home. Detour is a fast-paced memoir, unlike most in this genre of self-absorption, and manages to demystify the aura of mental illness.
It's good, really good. ... Read more


12. I'll Carry the Fork!: Recovering a Life After Brain Injury
by Kara L. Swanson
list price: $16.95
our price: $14.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933670044
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Rising Star Press
Sales Rank: 20091
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In January 1996, a van speeding through a red light ended the life Kara Swanson had known. She suddenly joined the 2 million Americans who suffer brain injury each year. It was like being thrust into a foreign country with no map, no way to speak the language, no directions home.

"This is the book I wish I could have read when I was first diagnosed with a brain injury," Kara writes. I tried to take the information that it took me months and years to learn and put it into a short, easy-to-read book that would help survivors and their loved ones better understand the process of recovery."

Written with laugh-out-loud humor, candor, and technical input from medical and legal profesionals, "I'll Carry the Fork!" offers inspiration and practical help to anyone dealing with the aftermath of brain injury. Because as Kara says, "Sometimes when your life ends, you don't actually die." ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative and humorous story of courage
Kara Swanson's personal story of her struggle with a closed head injury is told with such intelligence, honesty and humor that I could literally envision the experience. It's very hard to put yourself in some else's shoes until you've shared a similar experience. "I'll Carry the Fork" provides the reader with an experience that won't be forgotten upon completing the book. Not only does it serve as a very informative guide to those family, friends, and victims of closed head injuries on the "what to expect" and "how to get the best help", but it most importantly, provides a fantastic feeling of courage and confidence that life does go on and, in fact, can be better than ever before!

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage To Recover
Being a head injury survivor myself, Kara's book, "I'll Carry the Fork" was a turning point in my own recovery. With Kara's ability to put into words, what I had kept in my injured mind, helped me to let go of the feelings of worthlessness. Through her book, Kara helped me laugh at my frustrations and forgetfulness..I learned that to laugh is to heal and see the human side to my perfectionistic past. To read her words, gave me comfort of being understood..and to be understood gave me the courage to recover. "I'll Carry the Fork" expresses everyday challenges for head injury survivors, and changes the focus of feeling defeated by our trauma; to find the strength within us, to accept ourselves as the "chosen people" to teach others, head injury or not, that life is what you make it. Every day is a gift. Kara shows us all that we should be brave, face our fears, and never give up on our yesturdays, todays and our tomorrows. After reading her book, your life, your thoughts and your daily outlook will be changed forever. This is a powerful book. I am a better person because of it. I challenge everyone to read it..enjoy the words of wisdom...then read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for TBI survivors and their family
Kara's realistic, humor filled book is a must for any TBI survivor and their family. I read it and bought two extra copies and then decided to buy one for all our siblings so they can better understand what my husband goes through on a daily basis through Kara's words and experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kara is outstanding and the book is more!
Kara wrote a book that is helpful to those of us who have not gone through this ordeal. She helps us understand what has happened to her and what it took for her to overcome many of the obstacles. Kara did this in a way where we laughed, cried, and rooted for her from our hearts. Good luck to you Kara, I wish you many successes in the future, you deserve them. This book kept me riveted, I read it twice in one night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for those in denial
This is a basic info book. If you're looking for technical information or further resources on where the hell to go from here this isn't the book for you and your family. However, if someone in your family has suffered a TBI and the doctors are filling your family with the "they should be 90% of her/his old self" this is the book for you. TBI, particularily in those cases where the face is not mangled (e.g. the walking wounded), is deceptive and family members in denial are more likely to hear only the more positive issues involved (e.g. "the short-term memory is somehow intact") than come to grips with the fact that lives are never going to be the same. Prior to getting my parents to read this book they believed that my brother, who suffered a moderate-severe CHI would be fine. With the enduring and simplely structured way this author writes they were able to understand that we will never see the same person we loved but must now come to love the new person and that he will not go back to the 90% the docs promised. Getting my parents to read this book has been the most gentle and effective way to help combat the denial that almost tore our family apart. For those of you out there who understand that TBI takes your old loved one away (regardless of outward appearances) and replaces that person with a new one- this is the book you need to get the other family members to read so that you can lesson your own isolation and prevent the near-insanity that comes with the devastationn of a TBI. Recommended for both family and survivor. Thank you to the author. ... Read more


13. Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio
by JeffreyKluger
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152164
Catlog: Book (2005-01-27)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 29222
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The riveting story of one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of the twentieth century, from the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Apollo 13.

With rivalries, reversals, and a race against time, the struggle to eradicate polio is one of the great tales of modern history. It begins with the birth of Jonas Salk, shortly before one of the worst polio epidemics in United States history. At the time, the disease was a terrifying enigma: striking from out of nowhere, it afflicted tens of thousands of children in this country each year and left them-literally overnight-paralyzed, and sometimes at death's door.

Salk was in medical school just as a president crippled by the disease, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was taking office-and providing the impetus to the drive for studies on polio. By the early 1950s, Salk had already helped create an influenza vaccine, and was hot on the trail of the polio virus. He was nearly thwarted, though, by the politics of medicine and by a rival researcher eager to discredit his proposed solution. Meanwhile, in 1952, polio was spreading in record numbers, with 57,000 cases in the United States that summer alone.

In early 1954, Salk was weighing the possibility of trials of a not-yet-perfected vaccine against-as the summer approached-the prospect of thousands more children being struck down by the disease. The results of the history-making trials were announced at a press conference on April 12, 1955: "The vaccine works." The room-and an entire nation-erupted in cheers for this singular medical achievement.

Salk became a cultural hero and icon for a whole generation. Now, at the fiftieth anniversary of the first national vaccination program-and as humanity is tantalizingly close to eradicating polio worldwide-comes this unforgettable chronicle. Salk's work was an unparalleled achievement-and it makes for a magnificent read.
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A biography of Dr. Salk and his search for the vaccine
In 2005 the U.S. celebrates its 50th anniversary of the first national polio vaccination program which helped eradicate the disease in this country: it's hard to believe a generation is growing up without ever having known the ravages of polio. New York Times writer Jeffrey Kluger's Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk And The Conquest Of Polio is both a biography of Dr. Salk and his search for the vaccine and a social history of polio. Chapters based on exclusive interviews with his friends and colleagues and access to his private papers provides new details on Salk's life and career, setting this life in context of both his times and contemporaries.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, undemanding popular science tale
The discovery of the polio vaccine seems a musty tale to tackle in this post-modern, giga-bitten age. But Jeffrey Kluger, a staff writer at Time magazine and coauthor with commander Jim Lovell of Lost Moon (the inspiration for the Tom Hanks movie Apollo 13), has a decent excuse: 2005 marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk's breakthrough. The World Health Organization has targeted this year to eradicate the virus from the planet (a few hundred cases have lingered in Nigeria, Pakistan, and India), and the Smithsonian plans a retrospective exhibition.

Kluger nicely sketches the background for a medical achievement struck many as a miracle, and make Salk a reluctant mid-century media celebrity. When he was a child of Russian-Jewish immigrants in New York City, in 1916, more than 6,000 Americans died of polio in a year. Many more permanently lost the use of limbs. Though the numbers rose and fell, they averaged much the same for the next 40 years. Black city vehicles wrested sick children from their families and took them away to quarantine. Holiday celebrations were cancelled when the plague swept cities. Ignorance fed wild rumors such as one that blamed cats, whereupon 72,000 of them were beaten, drowned, and otherwise slaughtered by the citizens of New York.

Salk was a brilliant but odd duck. He graduated from a high school for the gifted at 15, and entered medical school by 20. During the Second World War, he was part of the team that developed the first 'flu vaccine. Detail-oriented to the point of obsessiveness, he was more polite and attentive to waiters and repairmen than peers who could do him political good.

Though muted, the story has its suspenseful turns and thrills. Competitors swear by a weakened live-virus vaccine while Salk pursues a killed-virus approach-carefully murdering yet structurally preserving the virus cells to goose the body's immune response. Test vaccines by other researchers fail, leaving dead children and ruined careers in their wake. Drug companies "improve" the vaccine Salk's team has already perfected, with procedures that lead to more polio cases. As an army of 20,000 doctors, 40,000 nurses, 1,000 support staff, 14,000 school principals and 50,000 teachers organized the 1.8 million children who would undergo the national field test in 1954, Walter Winchell's national radio broadcast called the vaccine a deadly failure, and warned that thousands of little white coffins were being readied to receive the resulting fatalities.

Slices of parallel lives punctuate the tale nicely, from the future President stricken by the disease at age 39, after which he crusades for the funding and research to battle it, to the accounts of Kluger's still-living sources: John Troan, the science reporter for the Pittsburgh Press who carefully cultivated his relationship with Salk and was rewarded with inside stories and scoops, and several interviewees who were crippled as children and participated in the first field tests.

Splendid Solution is not a heart-pounding page turner. In tone and style, it's a rather old-fashioned historical tale. But in its quiet manner, it is a terrific account, and well told.

3-0 out of 5 stars Short on Science
This book is a nice quick read for those who want a simplistic history of the Salk vaccine and the America that gave birth to it.
'Solution.." is almost devoid of hard scientific explanations. The author never adequately explains why polio emerged as such a public health threat in the post-1850 West and, simliarly, he fails to set forth the means of transmissision.
Put simply--pun intended--the book displays all the pluses and minuses of the author's journalistic background.
For a really excellent book on an infectious disease written for a general audience try "And the Band Played On" about HIV/AIDS.

1-0 out of 5 stars Cardboard characters looking for money and fame
The portrayal of Salk that arises from this book is that Salk was a political operator of the first order.The paucity of technical details and the "Oh, wow!" presentation of those few makes it very hard to assess the Salk's scientific contribution. Actually, the science of everyone involved is hurriedly brushed over.But all the key meetings, grants, confrontations, and even "chance" acquaintances - such as meeting Basil O'Connor's, chairman of the NFIP, daughter aboard ship and trying to "cheer her up" -- and Salk's reactions to these events are exhaustively recorded.It is mentioned a few times that Salk's battle-ax of a secretary actually had day-to-day control of the research group's operations.The charge of "Easy Bake" science is never convincing refuted by the author, even belatedly in the epilogue.The book was genuinely painful to read.You won't learn much about polio, but volumes about the politics of modern science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Read -Gripping, fascinating and powerful
"Splendid Solution" is a splendid book.From the opening page, the reader is swept into the world of Jonas Salk and the race to find a vaccine to prevent polio.

If you're a baby boomer, you'll remember getting the Salk or Sabin vaccine -- and marvel that our largest generation of children were protected by the efforts of Dr. Salk and his research team.If you're a parent of a baby boomer, you'll relive the horrors of summers in the 30s, 40s and 50s when the scourge of polio raced through the nation - striking at every level of society - even a future president - FDR.

Like "THE HOT ZONE" -- this is a riveting read!Highly recommended! ... Read more


14. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove
by Peter Goodchild
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674016696
Catlog: Book (2004-10-29)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 43902
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Book Description

One Nobel Prize-winning physicist called Edward Teller, "A great man of vast imagination...[one of the] most thoughtful statesmen of science." Another called him, "A danger to all that is important...It would have been a better world without [him]." That both opinions about Teller were commonly held and equally true is one of the enduring mysteries about the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb." In the story of Teller's life and career, told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Peter Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."

Goodchild's biography draws on interviews with more than fifty of Teller's colleagues and friends. Their voices echo through the book, expressing admiration and contempt, affection and hatred, as we observe Teller's involvement in every stage of building the atomic bomb, and his subsequent pursuit of causes that drew the world deeper into the Cold War--alienating many of his scientific colleagues even as he provided the intellectual lead for politicians, the military, and presidents as they shaped Western policy. Goodchild interviewed Teller himself at the end of his life, and what emerges from this interview, as well as from Teller's Memoirs and recently unearthed correspondence, is a clearer view of the contradictions and controversies that riddled the man's life. Most of all, though, this absorbing biography rescues Edward Teller from the caricatures that have served to describe him until now. In their place, Goodchild shows us one of the most powerful scientists of the twentieth century in all his enigmatic humanity.

... Read more

15. The Scalpel and the Silver Bear : The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing
by LORI ALVORD, ELIZABETH COHEN VAN PELT
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553378007
Catlog: Book (2000-06-06)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 59817
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first Navajo woman surgeon combines western medicine and traditional healing.

A spellbinding journey between two worlds, this remarkable book describes surgeon Lori Arviso Alvord's struggles to bring modern medicine to the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico--and to bring the values of her people to a medical care system in danger of losing its heart.

Dr. Alvord left a dusty reservation in New Mexico for Stanford University Medical School, becoming the first Navajo woman surgeon. Rising above the odds presented by her own culture and the male-dominated world of surgeons, she returned to the reservation to find a new challenge. In dramatic encounters, Dr. Alvord witnessed the power of belief to influence health, for good or for ill. She came to merge the latest breakthroughs of medical science with the ancient tribal paths to recovery and wellness, following the Navajo philosophy of a balanced and harmonious life, called Walking in Beauty. And now, in bringing these principles to the world of medicine, The Scalpel and the Silver Bear joins those few rare works, such as Healing and the Mind, whose ideas have changed medical practices-and our understanding of the world.

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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Scalpel and the Silver Bear
This book explores the remarkable journey of a Navajo women who leaves the reservation to train as a surgeon. It contrasts traditional Navajo practices with those of western medicine and illustrates how one women was able negotiate two worlds at odds with one another. The book provoked me to re-evaluate some of my assumptions of western medicine and heightened my awareness of cultural differences in philosophy of medical care. The book is thought-provoking and inspirational. A quick and easy read.

5-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK
I picked up this book and I could NOT put it down. What a wonderful journey described here....how she interlocks traditional medicine with Navajo, how harmony and positive spirit is such a process in the healing world. You will not be disappointed with this read. I have shared this with all those close to me. Make it part of your list

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid credentials but too abstract
--Dr Alvord writes about her journeys as a Native American student and physician. The book seems clearly designed for non-technical readers rather than the professional medical community, and there's little medical jargon. She uses her own difficult pregnancy and the death of a beloved grandmother as case studies in integrating Western medicine and Navajo ideas.
--On the one hand, it's worth reading this book just to hear such an inspirational story from such a role model. Dr Alvord tells her story with dignity and courage and she has many good ideas about listening to patients and integrating Balance and Harmony in our profession (although these ideas don't seem as radical or as rare within the medical community as she seems to imply, and I don't think she does anyone a great service by implying they are).
--On the other hand, the authors remained disappointingly abstract, even given the limitations of confidentiality and space. The stories of Navajo healing barely scratched the surface and the book was pretty scanty with practical advice that would help non-Native healers understand Native American patients. I'd love to have heard her perspectives on the magnitude of Native American health problems, how she handled the constant pressures of time and funding, or how she successfully used traditional Native American methods to help manage serious medical-social problems (i.e. alcohol use, diabetogenic diets, family pressures, basic compliance and responsibility issues, etc). In short, I'd like to have heard more about her successes.
--The book's perspective gives a good counterpoint to those who criticize Western medicine as too impersonal/sterile/uncaring/whatever, while they fail to demonstrate how to predictably improve things and still efficiently deliver technically competent health care to people with different levels of motivation and understanding. Western medicine works beautifully in its own niche, but it will be made to work less efficiently if we mess around with the wrong things. Perhaps medicine will improve if we balance the responsibilities of patients to live a healthy lifestyle with the responsibilities of healers to carefully listen to patients and then help them heal.
--This book did not practically help me to do this, so I cannot give it five stars despite my respect for her credentials. I do look forward to a sequel.
--Other books which may be of interest include Blessings (by Dr. A. Organick), The Dancing Healers, and Primary Care of Native American Patients.

5-0 out of 5 stars What We All Want in a Doctor
This book was recommended by a friend, and after I read it, I chose it as my selection for my book club. Living in the Southwest, the insight into Native American culture was especially educational. Alvord seems to confirm what so many of us as patients have been saying for years: give us a doctor who will take the time to get to know us on a personal level and treat the whole person. I would recommend this to men and women, young and old alike! What an amazing woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars Made me homesick!
I can't tell you how helpful this book was to me in gaining insight to myself and my own heritage. I too grew up on the "rez", or the Navajo Nation, not far from where Ms. Alvord grew up. (In fact, I am related to her by clan!) I also grew up half Navajo and half white. This book helped me to understand many of the characteristics and traits that I have and the cultural significance underlying them, as I was raised non-traditionally. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially Native youth, because it shows that anyone can achieve their dream. I am very proud of Lori Alvord for being willing to share her story and show the Western medical world the importance of Native/Indigenous healing practices. ... Read more


16. Nightingales : The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale
by GILLIAN GILL
list price: $27.95
our price: $16.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345451872
Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 1826
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17. Why I Wore Lipstick : To My Mastectomy
by Geralyn Lucas
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312334451
Catlog: Book (2004-10-04)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 19534
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Book Description

A soulful, surprising coming of age journey by a dynamo who used her own adversity as a platform for examining issues all young women face.

Having finished journalism school and landed her dream job at age 27, the last thing Geralyn Lucas expects to hear is a breast cancer diagnosis.She decides to go public with her disease despite fears about the backlash at work, and her bold choices in treatment are irreverent and uplifting.When her breast is under construction and her hair is falling out, her skirts get shorter.She goes to work every day and gets promoted.She has sex with her bandages on.She reinvents her beauty and in a bold move of conscious objection, forgoes the final phase of her breast reconstruction: the nipple.She is reborn in a tattoo parlor when she gets a heart tattoo where her nipple once was.

Geralyn recovers from her mastectomy and chemo and has a baby in the same hospital where she was treated for cancer.What could have been a huge negative for this young cancer survivor became the impetus to examine her own sexuality and burgeoning womanhood.Virtually nothing has been written for women of a young age who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.This book also deals with the broader issue of self-acceptance that anyone grappling with questions of illness, self-image and sexuality can identify with.
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18. Making an Exit : A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter
by Elinor Fuchs
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080506317X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 39661
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Frank and funny, an unexpected love story of a once-resentful daughter, a self-centered mother, and a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's

At a time when such things were uncommon, Elinor Fuchs's mother, Lillian, divorced her husband, took back her maiden name, left young Elinor to be raised by grandparents, and moved, alone, to Washington, D.C. She traveled the world selling automotive equipment and paramilitary gear to foreign governments, gave fabulous parties, and "in any given room, took up all the air there was." With her stunning looks and financial drive, Lillian was a figure to admire, not a mother to love. Shunted aside, Fuchs determined early to despise her mother's values and, once in college, to keep her distance.

Making an Exit is the affecting account of what happened afterward, during the last years of Lillian's life. Following her mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's, Fuchs finds herself in the role of caretaker. She begins to supervise her mother's life; then as the disease progresses, she becomes her mother's mother-dressing her, bathing her, feeding her. Lil changes, too-filled with new warmth, the word "love" now regularly crosses her lips. And through the fantastic poetry in the disintegration of Lillian's language, Fuchs comes to know her mother in a way she never did as a child.

In pitch-perfect prose, Making an Exit paints a picture of a parent's decline that is not the conventional narrative of aging and loss, but a story of discovery and devotion. "The last ten years," writes Fuchs, "they were our best."
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A treat and a tonic...
This is a wonderful book. It's about a downer subject-Alzheimer's---but manages to be funny, inspiring, hopeful and informative about the process of AD. Other reviewers are right---it is a page turner.
So what an achievement---an upbeat, engrossing book about a human tragedy. I've read a lot of first person accounts about the dementia of a relative and this is the best. It should become a classic. And now the author Fuchs, who teaches at the Yale School of Drama, should make a play of this.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
Laughter is the key to surviving a mother with Altzheimers.This story is so full of laughter and love that it eases the pain of the adventure, maybe not while its going on, but certainly after the "exit." It's a non-stop read at any stage of the experience even if you got along with your mother just fine.

5-0 out of 5 stars surprisingly funny as well as moving
Both Lil's story and the story of her daughter Elinor (the author/narrator) are enthralling.This is a funny, fast-paced, dramatic book, which captures deep emotions (the pain of a parent's illness, the growing love between mother and daughter) yet is always entertaining.A provocative meditation on love, loss, and memory, but also a page-turner. ... Read more


19. Warrior Soul : The Memoir of a Navy SEAL
by CHUCK PFARRER
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400060362
Catlog: Book (2003-12-30)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 6685
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Since the first navy frogmen crawled onto the beaches of Normandy, no SEAL has ever surrendered,” writes Chuck Pfarrer. “No SEAL has ever been captured, and not one teammate or body has ever been left in the field. Thislegacy of valor is unmatched in modern warfare.”


Warrior Soul
is a book about the warrior spirit, and it takes the reader all over the world. Former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer recounts some of his most dangerous assignments: On a clandestine reconnaissance mission on the Mosquito Coast, his recon team plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a Nicaraguan patrol boat. Cut off on the streets of Beirut, the author’s SEAL detachment must battle snipers on the Green Line. In the mid-Atlantic, Pfarrer’s unit attempts to retrieve—or destroy—the booster section of a Trident ballistic missile before it can be recovered by a Russian spy trawler. On a runway in Sicily, his assault element surrounds an Egyptian airliner carrying the Achille Lauro hijackers.

These are only a few of the riveting stories of combat patrol, reconnaissance missions, counter-terrorist operations, tragedies, and victories in Warrior Soul that illustrate the SEAL maxim “The person who will not be defeated cannot be defeated.”
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Life Hero
One of the best books I've read about US Navy Seals. In the same category of Marcinko's Rogue Warrior and Robert A. Gormly's Combat Swimmer but Warrior Soul is more human and sentimental. The book not only describes the military exploits of an ex-serviceman but also a real life struggles of a super human being against psychological and physical odds. The real highlight of the book is its last chapter. What a formidable advice from Pfarrer: 'Hold on to the people you are close to,and love them fiercely.Get up every morning and live like there is no tomorrow. Because one day you'll find it's true.' I wish a good luck to Mr. Pfarrer in his combat against his illness.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS YOU'LL READ ALL YEAR
I have never been a Navy SEAL but, after reading Mr. Pfarrer's excellent "Warrior Soul," I can safely say that I now understand a bit more what makes the most elite warriors in the U.S. military tick physically and emotionally. Above all else, as Mr. Pfarrer poignantly shows us, they are human beings who laugh and love and bleed just like the rest of us. Sometimes, those commonalities tend to get lost in the media's typical glorification of special forces operators. That said, "Warrior Soul" paints the most vivid picture imaginable of what it takes to become one of these special men and the lasting effect such a heroic undertaking has on their lives. This is a finely structured book penned by a truly terrific writer. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real and personal
So many books out there about the military carry the hollywood theme with them from the theatres. Its high adrenaline macho talk about some guy who thinks he is the best soldier there has ever been. However, Pfarrer's book goes completely the opposite direction. He seems to talk about combat the way it really was for him without any self-serving purpose. Beautifully written with many sections that just make you squirm with their realism. This book is about a man faced with the terrible realities of war especially his involvement with Beirut. It is not glitsy or glamourous. As a young man trying to figure out if I would like to be a part of our countries armed services, I appreciate such a realistic portrayal of what its really like.

5-0 out of 5 stars Warrior Soul
To start off, I thought this book was your normal memoir of someone who thought they were the greatest. This is unlike most of the other military memoirs.

Mr. Pfarrer does not talk about how good he was, or how great a leader he was. Unlike most memoirs, Mr. Pfarrer talks about how good his team was, not how great he was. He says stuff the way it was, he admits to not being the best husband, he admits to screwing up. This story is amazing, the stories he tells of America's secret wars that the news glanced over. It puts a lot of stuff in perscpective.

This is probably the best book I've read in the past year, and the absolute best book out there about the military, and special operations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Candid and well written
"Warrior Soul: The Memoirs of a Navy SEAL", by Chuck Pfarrer is quite a change from what I normally read. I subscribe to AVANTGO's RANDOMHOUSE channel and one of the excerpts they provided was from the first chapter of this book. After reading the excerpt, I was instantly hooked. I HAD to find out what happened next. I bought the book the next day. It's a real eye opener when you realize the things Pfarrer describes are true and part of our history. The author has a knack for conveying a wide range of emotion to the reader, making him/her feel like they were in the trenches, jungle, sub, boat or alley with him. Looking for a SAFE adrenaline boost? Read this book. The book also mentions a number of world events that someone from my generation may have heard of, but was too young to put into global historical context. The author generated a genuine interest in me, that lead to my researching a few of these events. I can understand why, when looking for this book at the book store, I found it under military history. ... Read more


20. Partners of the Heart: Vivien Thomas and His Work With Alfred Blalock
by Vivien T. Thomas
list price: $15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812216342
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Sales Rank: 340329
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring account of a man behind the scenes
As a medical student at the Johsn Hopkins University School of Medicine, I found it absolutely facinating to peer into the life of a man who worked side by side with Dr. Blalock to help develop some of the most important advances in surgery of the 20th century. I have seen the portrait that Mr. Thomas describes in the book still hanging in the atrium of the Blalock elevators. I recommend this book to anyone interested in medical or surgical history. ... Read more


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