Goetz, Thomas. The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest To Cure Tuberculosis. Gotham. 2014. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781592407514. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698148574. MED
Goetz (Decision Tree; former executive editor, Wired) offers a brief and insightful double biography of two doctors: German-born Robert Koch (1843–1910), the “father of microbiology,” who was convinced he had found a remedy for tuberculosis, and Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), who traveled to Germany to witness this cure and eventually helped to debunk it. Koch used meticulous application of scientific principles to discover the cause of the disease and Doyle employed the scientific approach as a model for his fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes’s crime-solving methods. Koch’s life, from his initial work with anthrax through the discovery of the cause of tuberculosis, the “tubercle bacillus,” and his reported medicine development is described. It is combined with the story of Doyle’s rise as a physician, his interest in Koch’s work (including the trip to Germany to hear about his remedy), as well as his desire to share the events, and how he used those medical skills to create the Holmes episodes. VERDICT This book will be of interest to those who enjoy reading about history and science and 19th-century Europe, as well as fans of Sherlock Holmes. It is a pleasure to read, contains solid notes for additional information, and will have a wide appeal.
Kaplan, David & others (text) & Tim Tomkinson (illus.) & William Hereford (photos). Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails. Ten Speed: Crown. Oct. 2014. 320p. index. ISBN 9781607745259. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781607745266. BEVERAGES
A jewel-box of a bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Death & Co was a pioneer of the cocktail renaissance when it opened in 2007, but a latecomer to producing a tie-in book. This imposing tome, which could double as a tray for a round of Manhattans, is no hasty attempt to cash in on a brand’s success. It’s both intimate and authoritative, reflecting the deep-seated love for the bar shared by founder Kaplan, ex-bartender and co-owner Alex Day, and veteran food-and-drink writer Nick Fauchald—which is reflected in portraits of regulars and their favorite drinks, as well as pages revealing a night in the life of the bar. But although the book celebrates the cocktail bar scene, it is equally dedicated to teaching and encouraging home bartenders. There’s a clear, unpretentious spirits primer for those who have been bluffing their way through in-vogue varieties of rum, tequila, and whiskey; other sections tackle bitters, ice, glassware, and additional details without dictating. More than half the book is devoted to 450-plus recipes for classics, variations, and riffs, making this comprehensive enough to elbow aside its barfly competitors. VERDICT Sophisticated and inviting, this should be the definitive guide for the cocktail-curious.
Matveikova, Irina. Digestive Intelligence: A Holistic View of Your Second Brain. Findhorn. Jul. 2014. 176p. bibliog. ISBN 9781844096435. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781844098590. HEALTH
The idea that our brain and digestive system are connected is a fascinating one, and this book, written by a doctor, nutritionist, and eating disorder specialist promises to help readers to resolve digestive problems, from irritable bowel syndrome to heartburn, ulcers, and more. Matveikova takes readers on a tour of the digestive system with a history of the social taboos related to digestion and encourages reliance on natural remedies over pharmaceutical options. In addition to the natural choices often suggested by doctors (e.g., yoga, probiotics, mint tea), the author also recommends more controversial treatments such as colon cleansing. She further connects “leaky gut syndrome” to mental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit disorder, which is not a mainstream view. VERDICT This book will likely have an audience among those already convinced of the effectiveness of alternative methods. Others can pass.
Teta, Jillian Sarno & Jeannette Bessinger. Natural Solutions for Digestive Health. Sterling. 2014. 320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781454910312. pap. $16.95. HEALTH
Among the most common ailments many people suffer from are constipation, gas, acid reflux, and other discomforts related to digestion. Teta, a naturopathic physician, and Bessinger, a food writer, offer alternative remedies for these conditions. They begin by explaining how the digestive tract works, then discuss what can go wrong, and offer a program of treatment to restore the gut to health. They also cover specific conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Their solution remedy includes the removal of irritating foods (e.g., gluten, dairy, soy, nightshade vegetables, beans, alcohol, and sugar), taking probiotics, supplements and enzymes, and making lifestyle changes (e.g., getting enough sleep, managing stress, establishing healthy bathroom habits). They include recipes for their meal plans. While some of this advice is very useful, the claim that this program can help with conditions ranging from acne to multiple sclerosis is questionable. The authors also talk about “leaky gut,” a condition not acknowledged in the medical literature. VERDICT Buy where there is interest in alternative medicine. A more balanced approach is available in Norton J. Greenberger’s 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion.
Jauhar, Sandeep. Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician. Farrar. Aug. 2014. 304p. notes. ISBN 9780374141394. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781429945844. MED
A follow-up to Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation, medical doctor and New York Times contributor Jauhar’s latest is part memoir and part denunciation of America’s current health-care system. Reflecting on his career at midlife, Jauhar is surprised at the physician he has grown into: disaffected and disillusioned, with a sense of loss of core ideals and enthusiasm for his work. And he isn’t alone; he argues that there is a collective ambivalence within the medical community. Supporting his perspective, much of the book is composed of anecdotes of encounters he experienced during his career as a cardiologist. Citing instances related to malpractice insurance precautions, for-profit research companies, and hospital bottom lines, the author concludes that these factors have contributed to the overall bureaucratic and emotionless modern health-care environment. He argues that ultimately it is the American health-care landscape that is contributing to the ineffectiveness of the current state of patient care and that physicians have to sacrifice the intimacy of patient interactions to satisfy economic interests. VERDICT Written in a narrative, reflective style, this is a compelling depiction of the current state of health care and elicits a call to action by health professionals. Recommended for consumer-health enthusiasts, health-care workers, and medical-treatment policymakers.
Rhee, Peter with Gordon Dillow. Trauma Red: The Making of a Surgeon in War and in America’s Cities. Scribner. Jun. 2014. 288p. index. ISBN 9781476727295. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781476727318. MED
Rhee (with veteran journalist Dillow) writes a memoir not unlike William A. Nolen’s classic The Making of a Surgeon (1980). A premier trauma surgeon in the United States, Rhee came to the public’s attention following the mass shooting in Tucson, AZ, that left six dead and 13 wounded, including congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The surgeon’s account describes his journey from Korean immigrant to U.S. Navy captain and trauma surgeon, where he made split-second decisions about which lives and limbs could be saved. He begins the story in Uganda, where as a child he watched his father, also a surgeon, treat a man impaled by a spear. Rhee contends there was no pressure for him to go into medicine and that he was at first reluctant. Nonetheless, once he made the decision to do so he quickly recognized his gifts for trauma surgery. Whether it’s developing the U.S. Navy’s trauma-surgery program, surgery under difficult conditions near the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, or leading-edge academic research, the author has been at the forefront of all this and more. VERDICT Rhee’s narrative bleeds adrenaline and confidence, providing a compulsively entertaining read. Highly recommended to readers of medical drama and memoirs.
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Elliot, Rose. The Best of Rose Elliot: The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection. Octopus. 2014. 304p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780600628774. $29.99. COOKING
Hasselbrink, Kimberley. Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season. Ten Speed: Crown. Jun. 2014. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607745419. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781607745426. COOKING
Abrahams, Marc. This Is Improbable Too: Synchronized Cows, Speedy Brain Extractors, and More WTF Research. One World. Aug. 2014. 336p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781780743615. pap. $15.99. SCI
DeYoung, Bud with Cindy Martinusen Coloma. It’s a Wild Life: How My Life Became a Zoo. Medallion. Jun. 2014. 262p. photos. ISBN 9781605426372. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781605425450. NAT HIST
Eisenberg, Cristina. The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America’s Predators. Island Pr. 2014. 228p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781597269827. $30. NAT HIST
Hirshfeld, Alan. Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe. Bellevue Literary. Jul. 2014. 400p. illus. ISBN 9781934137789. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781934137796. SCI
J. Fenwick Lansdowne. Pomegranate. 2014. 184p. ed. by Tristram Lansdowne. illus. index. ISBN 9780764966705. $65. NAT HIST
Maienschein, Jane. Embryos Under the Microscope: The Diverging Meanings of Life. Harvard Univ. 2014. 328p. notes. ISBN 9780674725553. $28.95. SCI
Nichols, Wallace J. Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, in, on, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. Little, Brown. Jul. 2014. 320p. notes. ISBN 9780316252089. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316252072. SCI
Parsons, Keith. It Started with Copernicus: Vital Questions About Science. Prometheus. Aug. 2014. 350p. ISBN 9781616149291. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616149307. SCI
Rosolie, Paul. Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon. Harper. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062259516. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062259547. NAT HIST