A timely tribute to the modern-day heroes of medicine, conveyed in their own words.

E.R. NURSES

TRUE STORIES FROM AMERICA'S GREATEST UNSUNG HEROES

Dispatches from the front lines of emergency nursing.

In this follow-up to the similarly structured Walk in My Combat Boots, Patterson and Eversmann present brief but meaningful first-person narratives that illustrate the true realities of nursing “at the center of it all.” Split into sections representing their clinical shifts, the contributors vary by location, gender, and care experience. The authors open with a harrowing narrative deep dive within the “horrific” first wave of Covid-19 in which four infected patients perished during one nurse’s shift. Her closing sentiments are echoed by many throughout the book: “My years in nursing have taught me resiliency.” Another common theme is the chaotic frenzy of emergency departments. One contributor calls her Detroit hospital, which plays host to a barrage of extreme situations, the “Wild West of nursing,” while another recalls a visit by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who had just begun his groundbreaking work in euthanasia. Others remember purposefully violating hospital policy to hold a patient’s hand or allow a wife to bring a dying husband’s dog to the ICU. The book is packed with gut-wrenching scenes and a kaleidoscope of emotions. In one heartbreaking scene, a terrified Covid patient, suffering from “guppy breathing,” is met by fully masked and gowned nurses, who later note how the pandemic has caused “a major shift in medical treatment. The human touch is almost gone.” There are happy outcomes, trivial clinical missteps, cantankerous patients (says one nurse, “certain patients are just dicks”), and situations so stressful and bizarre that they can’t help but elicit exasperated laughter. These readable bite-sized snippets represent a significant caregiver demographic of women and men who exhibit the labor-intensive focus, compassion, dedication, and passion necessary to be an emergency nurse. From the heartfelt to the tragic, this book displays the nursing profession in all its unsung glory.

A timely tribute to the modern-day heroes of medicine, conveyed in their own words.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5426-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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