An inspiring story of faith and dedication.



The story of six Kentucky nuns who forged a new life in India.

In her debut book, New York Times Opinion editor Thottam draws on detailed archival sources and more than 60 interviews to create a vivid history of a hospital and nursing school established in the small Indian town of Mokama in 1947 by six members of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, whose “ambition and longing, passion and hunger” fueled their desire for bold, new challenges. Ranging in age from their early 20s to 50, buoyed with hope and excitement, they set out for India knowing no Hindi and without a clue about conditions in a nation that had just emerged from British rule and the trauma of Partition. After an arduous journey by sea and rail, they faced a stunning reality. Mokama, riddled by violence, was populated by the war-ravaged and destitute who had fled brutality and the loss of their homes. The physical conditions were daunting: The Jesuits who had invited them provided a large, unheated structure with no electricity or running water; no hospital beds; no medicines; and no doctors, nurses, or other staff. Weeks after their arrival, supplies finally came, and Nazareth Hospital, as they named it, began seeing patients. A young doctor arrived in 1948, and by 1949, the nuns, working tirelessly, offered basic primary care, a village health center, and a school to train nurses—aspiring young women like Thottam’s mother—who came from all over India. In 1952, they established a leprosy clinic. Nearly eight decades later, the hospital still exists, serving “the poor and the extremely ill, for whom Nazareth is still the only option.” The author offers candid, sympathetic portraits of the doctors and nurses who arrived through the years to staff the hospital and especially of the six original founders. “They are women,” she writes, “who took hold of uncertainty, saw a void, and would not let go until they had shaped it into something closer to the life they desired.”

An inspiring story of faith and dedication.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-52235-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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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 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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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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