‘The Myth of Alzheimer’s: What You Aren’t Being Told About Today’s Most Dreaded Diagnosis’ Book Review
By Peter J. Whitehouse, M.D., Ph. D., with Danny George (St. Martin’s Press, $25.95)
A provocative, new groundbreaking book challenges the conventional wisdom and assumptions about Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Peter J. Whitehouse, one of the best known experts in the field, is a specialist in neurology with an interest in geriatrics and cognitive science and a focus on dementia. Founder of the University Alzheimer’s Center – now the University Memory and Aging Center – at Case Western University, Whitehouse questions current methods of treatment and brings a new understanding to everything we thought we knew about brain aging.
Backed by extensive research, practical advice and cutting-edge information, Whitehouse strives to liberate people from the crippling label of Alzheimer’s disease. The first two sections of his book expose what he believes to be the unsound clinical, political and scientific approaches of Alzheimer’s disease and explains why it continues to be so difficult to treat or cure the condition. He points out that Alzheimer’s disease should not be differentiated from normal aging and that no one profile of AD is consistent from person to person.
In his highly readable book, Whitehead addresses important questions such as: Is AD actually a disease? What is the difference between a naturally aging brain and an Alzheimer’s brain? How effective are current drug therapies? What promise does genetic research hold” What would a world with AD look like? How do we as individuals and as human communities get there?
For the millions of families coping with AD, this book will promote better understanding. Whitehead is convinced that if we begin thinking of AD as brain aging and not as a disease, our approach will change, triggering quality of life to our later years and to the lives of those we love.
‘Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir’ Book Review
By David Rieff (Simon & Schuster, $21)
Susan Sontag was born in New York City in 1933. Her father, a fur
trader in China, died of tuberculosis when she was 5. Her mother moved
the family to Tucson, where she met and married Nathan Sontag. The
family had chosen Arizona as a new home, primarily to find relief for
Susan’s almost crippling asthma.
The family eventually moved to Los Angeles, where Susan graduated
from high school. She spent a semester at the University of California
at Berkeley. She then transferred to the University of Chicago where
she received a bachelor’s degree in 1951, and married Philip Reiff
after a brief courtship. Although the marriage did not last, their
union produced a son, David.
In 2004, while traveling from the Middle East to the United States,
David called his mother from the United Airlines lounge at Heathrow in
London. He immediately knew that something was wrong. She had survived
a radical mastectomy in 1975 and there was a chance the cancer had
returned. Her doctor confirmed her suspicions and so began her final
“Swimming in a Sea of Death” is a remarkable book. It is an
intensely personal portrait of the relationship between a mother and
son. Rieff also documents what it is like to help someone who is
gravely ill and, equally important, how to let go when the end comes.
This profoundly intimate narrative focuses on confronting death while
dealing with the guilt, self-questioning and the sense of not having
done enough that trouble many survivors.
Sontag died in 2004 and is buried at the Cimetiere de Montparnasse
in Paris near the grave sites of Sartre, Baudelaire and Beckett.
Recommended new novels
‘The Senator’s Wife’
By Sue Miller (Knopf, $24.95)
Meri, newly married and pregnant, develops a friendship with a new
neighbor in an adjacent New England townhouse, Delia Naughton, wife of
two-term liberal senator, Tom Naughton. Even though Tom has the
well-earned reputation as a womanizer, the marriage he has with his
wife appears to be strong.
By Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster, $26)
British Prime Minister Adam Lang leaves office, moves to a windswept
mansion on Martha’s Vineyard and begins work on his memoirs. When his
former ghostwriter turns up dead, an apparent suicide, Lang begins
searching for someone new to help him. A man is found and hired but the
new ghostwriter quickly discovers that Lang’s apocryphal stories of his
past do not match up with historical fact. What begins as a simple
writing assignment quickly becomes something much deadlier and much
‘The Rebels: Sons of Texas’
By Elmer Kelton (Tor/Forge, $24.95)
In 1830, two brothers, Michael and Andrew Lewis, settle in Mexican
Texas to hunt wild horses. Despite Mexican laws that prohibit newcomers
from claiming land in the province, other family members begin to
emigrate from Tennessee. As more Americans flood into the territory, a
war is triggered and the Lewis brothers find themselves caught in the
middle of the fight. Michael and Andrew join a ragtag army that
prepares for battle against the young self-styled Napoleon of the West,
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
By Jude Morgan (St. Martin’s Press, $24.95)
Set in 1827, Harriet Smithson, a member of a family of Irish
players, is not a fan of the theater In fact, she finds a life of
greasepaint immoral and coarse. When she joins an English company
planning to take Shakespeare to Paris, her life becomes a frenzy as she
is pursued by an intense young composer, Hector Berlioz. In this
audacious, brilliant story set against a background of 19th-century
theater, Romantic art, music and revolutionary Europe, Morgan’s
characters are both authentic and engaging. This beautifully written
novel is one of those all-too-few unexpected pleasures of life.
‘A Long and Winding Road: A Novel of the Mountain Men’
By Win Blevins (Tor/Forge, $25.95)
Set during the time of Kit Carson, Sam Morgan finds a cause when he
decides to find and rescue two Mexican girls, Lupe and Rosalita, who
have been kidnapped from their village by Navajo raiders and spirited
off into the New Mexico wilderness. His search takes him deep into
Navajo, Ute and Blackfeet Indian territory, eventually culminating in a
surprise ending involving one of the missing girls and a trapper called
‘Ellington Boulevard: A Novel in A-Flat’
By Adam Langer (Spiegel & Grau, $24)
Langer has written a hysterical romp through Manhattan that is set
during the recent real estate boom. This nifty little book does for the
Big Apple what “Crossing California” did for Chicago as it serves up a
side-splitting buffet of funny stories revolving around a regular
two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Langer offers an intimate
insight on just what it is that compels so many to choose to live in
New York, a city of exorbitant rents, untenable living conditions, and
ultimately, thrills and spills around every corner.
‘Keeper and Kid’
By Edward Hardy (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95)
After James Keeper falls in love with a sassy pastry chef in Boston,
he marries, falls out of love, divorces and then moves to Providence to
help Leah, his new love, run her antique shop. All goes well until he
receives a call from his former mother-in-law and discovers a son he
never knew he had. As life takes on a whole new meaning, Keeper must
determine the things that are truly important in his life.