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Brian R. Martin (London, UK)
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Half Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy
Half Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy
by Frank Close
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars The Intriguing life of Bruno Pontecorvo, 16 April 2015
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Bruno Pontecorvo's name is always associated with that of Fuchs and others who passed secret atomic information to the Russians in the 1940s. He fled in great haste to the Soviet Union within weeks of Fuchs' arrest, and Russia remained his home until his death in 1993. Pontecorvo was a brilliant physicist, one of a small number who were equally at home with theory and experiment. He had worked with Enrico Fermi in Rome on the use of slow neutrons to initiate nuclear chain reactions, a technique that was crucial in building nuclear reactors. Then he moved to Paris and there he openly espoused his communist views, a fact the intelligence agencies inexplicably missed when later he was security vetted.

In the introduction to the book, Close says he focuses more on Pontecorvo's later life in Russia, his scientific work, and his relations with the Russian authorities. But there is also a significant amount of information about the early days in Rome and Paris, and the time he spent in Canada and England before his defection, almost half the book in fact. These chapters cover much well known ground about the American and Anglo-Canadian atomic projects before and during the war, but supplemented by interesting new details from a thorough study of official files. They tell us a lot about Pontecorvo's character and are essential to understanding later events. New to me was his work in America in the oil prospecting industry, where, using his expertise in particle detectors, he devised a technique for detecting uranium ores, which later became of great interest to the Americans in connection with both reactor and bomb projects, and also to the Russians of course.

The second half of the book examines Pontecorvo's defection, his years in Russia, the nature of his usefulness to the burgeoning nuclear programmes there, and his fundamental research at Dubna, the Russian nuclear research centre outside Moscow. His important scientific work included seminal suggestions in weak interaction theory, and neutrino physics in particular, that became part of the foundations of the present Standard Model of particle physics, and many years later contributed to the award of Nobel Prizes in Physics. He had a very plausible claim to a share of one of these awards, but when he moved to the Soviet Union he published only in Russian language journals. These were read by few scientists in the West, and were only available in translation at least two years after publication, so his work was not appreciated and he was `beaten to the finishing line' by others. The taint of treachery would not have helped his case with the Nobel committee.

Was Pontecorvo a spy? Close carefully analyses a number of crucial events, (one of which involves the ubiquitous Kim Philby) that although all are circumstantial and individually might just about have innocent explanations, when taken together they present a very strong case that Pontecorvo did indeed pass information to the Russians. In the later period of his life his views on Soviet communism changed drastically, and in a 1992 interview he admitted to having been "a cretin" and "naïve and stupid" for devoting his life to the communist cause. However, he never admitted to having been a spy, claiming variously that he had defected because he feared unjustified persecution following Fuchs' arrest, or simply for admiration of the Soviet system. This contradicts the (undocumented) testimony of others, including that of Oleg Gordievsky (the highest-ranking KGB officer ever to defect). But the problem with spies (and former spies) of both sides is that they lie - that's what they've been trained to do - and their statements always have to be treated with suspicion. We can never be absolutely sure, but this book goes a long way to settling the argument. Pontecorvo was never charged with espionage; the only action taken against him was to strip him of his British nationality. Perhaps the evidence was deemed insufficient, or maybe MI5 was reluctant because a trial would have revealed their incompetence, and further damaged relations with America. Only they know.

The story of Pontecorvo, both the man and his scientific achievements, is well worth telling and Close has generally done a very good job, with a reasonable balance between biography and science, although in places it is perhaps a little too detailed. The narrative is supported by numerous references to official files and interviews with Pontecorvo's extended family and others. The latter are particularly interesting. A minor quibble is that the references are also sometimes unnecessarily detailed. In one place even the weather at the time is backed up by references to weather reports of the day. While it is reassuring to know that the author has undertaken extensive research, I don't see the point of this level of detail.


Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £75.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mid-priced sonic toothbrush, 16 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a mid-priced electric toothbrush in the Philips Sonic range, the name referring to its mode of action: vibrating and water jetting rather than simple rotation. It is supplied with a charger base fitted with a two-pin shaver-type plug. The base incorporates stands for the handle and two brushes, and excess cable can be coiled within the base and stored. There are two brushes supplied, one a ProResults for standard cleaning, and the other a Diamond Clean, which it is said can remove stains etc., giving whiter teeth within two weeks. There is also a useful hard plastic travel case for the charger and two brushes.

Three modes of action may be selected (clean, sensitive and clean & white) by repeatedly pressing a button on the handle, and there is a timer that sounds after each 30-second interval to equalize the time you brush each quadrant of your mouth. The unit then switches off after 2 minutes, unless you have selected Clean & White (using the Diamond Clean brush) when it continues for a further 30 seconds in that mode. The battery life is excellent; a full charge will last for at least two weeks if used twice a day.

The mode of action takes a little to get used to if you have previously used a rotary toothbrush. The high rate of vibration means that there is a tendency for water and toothpaste to spray the surroundings if you are not careful. Also take care not to let the shaft of the brush touch your teeth! But once you get used to it, the results are excellent, producing a real clean feeling. One minor niggle: unlike the Braun I currently have, which stores four brushes, storage on the base of the Philips is only for two brushes, not convenient if two people want to share the handle.


Thomas Cromwell: The untold story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant
Thomas Cromwell: The untold story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant
by Tracy Borman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complex man who was Thomas Cromwell, 9 Feb. 2015
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Thomas Cromwell's reputation has changed greatly since his death. He has variously been portrayed as a loyal servant to his master King Henry VIII, a friend of the common people, and a devout Christian, intent on enacting reforms that would enable everyone to access the word of God as given in the bible. At the other extreme it is said that he was an unscrupulous politician without any ethical standards and only interested in his personal gain. This book tends towards the former interpretation, but not entirely. The reality is that Cromwell was a very complex man with many strands to his character, some of which were admirable and others far less so. What is undeniable is that he was a supremely competent lawyer and administrator, with formidable powers of persuasion. It was these qualities that Henry valued so much that he overlooked the fact that Cromwell was not from the nobility, but only the son of a blacksmith. His humble origins inevitably meant that many nobles despised him, and it was a major contribution to his eventual downfall.

For many years, Cromwell could do nothing wrong in Henry's eyes. He was the prime mover in extraditing Henry from marriages he no longer wanted, starting with that of Catherine of Aragon; and the Dissolution of the Monasteries following the break with the church of Rome, which he engineered, enabled him to raise huge sums for the royal coffers by the sale of monastic goods and properties. While he may have destroyed the monastic houses out of a genuine sense of religious feeling, there is no doubt that a wish to please the King was also present, and Cromwell's steady accumulation of expensive property for himself cannot be overlooked, even though he personally lived very modestly. Neither can his acquiescence in the deaths of people who got in the way of his relations with Henry, notably Anne Boleyn and Thomas More, even though both were at some time his friends and allies.

Things started to go wrong when in furtherance of his political aim of an alliance with a protestant house in Europe, as a foil to the Catholic powers of France and the Holy Roman Empire, Cromwell persuaded Henry to marry Anne of Cleves. Remarkably, Henry agreed without even meeting Anne, but when she arrived in England he was so appalled by her appearance and personal hygiene that he refused to even consummate the marriage, and turned his rage on his advisor. The powerful Duke of Norfolk, a long-term enemy of Cromwell, then seized to opportunity of the Anne of Cleves fiasco to warn the King that Cromwell's fervent evangelical reforms were leading to widespread discontent in the country, and also alleged that Cromwell was intending to marry the King's daughter Mary, as a step towards seizing the crown for himself. This only increased Henry's antagonism towards his chief minister, and gave Norfolk the confidence to have Cromwell arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, while a series of serious charges against him, some of which were ludicrous, was constructed. Cromwell was never formally tried, but nevertheless was found guilty by what amounted to a Royal decree, and suffered a botched beheading on Tower Hill. Later, from remarks he made,it appears that Henry regretted his decison and the lose of such a talented man as Cromwell.

Tracy Borman's biography details all the complex events in Cromwell's adult life in the context of the ruthless nature of Henry's court, with its ever-changing alliances as courtiers struggled for the volatile Henry's favour. We also learn much about his personal life; his kindness to widows, his unswerving loyalty to his mentor Cardinal Wolsey and the love for his wife and son. The research is meticulous and the prose is delightful. An interesting feature is extensive quotes from contemporary correspondence, left in its original English. Although not always easy to read, I found these fascinating as they give a real flavour of relationships in Tutor times. There have been many biographies of Cromwell, but Tracy Borman's book must rank among the very best.


The Glass Key
The Glass Key
by Dashiell Hammett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Master of the hard-boiled detective story, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Glass Key (Paperback)
Dashiell Hammett's creative period was very short, effectively terminated in the 1940s by chronic ill health (TB), alcoholism, and political persecution because of his extreme outspoken left-wing views. But prior to this he produced some memorable work, and was a master of the `hard-boiled' detective story. He is best known for `The Maltese Falcon', following the successful film staring Humphrey Bogart, but `The Glass Key' is generally regarded as his finest work. The `hero', if he can be called that, is the cool Ned Beaumont, a hard-drinking fixer for a gangster, Paul Madvig, who controls a city via his political and police stooges. But Ned has a moral code of sorts, and when Paul looks like being betrayed at election time, and may even be indicted for a murder, he steps up, and at considerable personal danger (he is severely beaten several times) eventually forces the real killer to confess. To cap it all he even `wins' the daughter of a Senator, who Paul vainly hoped to marry. The story is more complex than these few sentences convey. There are many twists and turns and it has a real surprise ending. The writing is in a terse, laconic style that has often been imitated but never excelled. An excellent read.
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The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians
The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians
by Janice Hadlow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The dysfunctional Hanoverians, 25 Jan. 2015
This book is mainly about George III, the third Hanoverian king, who came to the throne at the early age of 22 and ruled for an impressively long 60 years. But it starts by sketching in less detail the story of his predecessors, George I and George II, whose lives had a profound influence on his own. The two former monarchs had much in common. Both had bad relations with their wives (George I had even imprisoned his for a while) but this did not stop the wives joining their husbands in notoriously hating their eldest sons, who quickly `went off the rails' with multiple mistresses and accumulating huge debts. George III himself had a far from happy relationship with his father, and so when he married a minor German princess, Charlotte, from the impoverished state of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, he was determined to break this toxic `tradition' and establish an harmonious family life based on his firm ideas about the role of kingship as one of duty and obligation. He was the first to define the role of a monarch in this way, with the King as head of a happy family, the role model for his subjects. Janice Hadlow calls this `The Royal Experiment'.

All started well. Queen Charlotte was an intelligent woman, well educated by the standards of the day, who happily joined her husband in building their ideal family. It turned out to be a very large family, as Charlotte was pregnant most of her fertile life, producing a remarkable 15 children, all but two surviving into adulthood. George was a kindly father, who doted on the children when they were young, and Charlotte played a major role in their extensive education. But the idyllic situation was not to last. As the children grew into adulthood, conflicts with George surfaced and the Royal Experiment began to falter. He was totally unable to understand why their allotted role, i.e. to respect his opinions in all things and to be companions to the Queen, should not be enough to keep them happy. Although he expressed a desire to see his daughters married, he never did anything active to achieve this. Indeed he even had passed the Royal Marriage Act that forbade any member of the royal family marrying without the permission of the King.

As the tensions mounted, history repeated itself. The King's eldest son went the way of other Princes of Wales and took mistresses, even illegally marrying one, drinking heavily and running up huge debts, finally contracting a marriage to a German Princess he had never seen and who he hated from the moment he set eyes on her. For most of their lives they lived apart. In the Hanoverian tradition, relations between him and his father become poisonous. The King's relations with his other children also changed. The sons were kept short of money and some were sent abroad, not to return for many years; the daughters married late in life, or not at all. Meanwhile some were embroiled in sexual scandals. It was even said of one that the father of her illegitimate child was one of her brothers, although the evidence for this is far from conclusive.

If all this was not enough, in 1788 George suffered his first attack of madness, with all the horror that implied, given the state of medicine at the time. The effect on the family, particularly the Queen, was profound. In the book there is a moving portrait of Charlotte painted at this time; the strain is etched on her face. Eventually George recovered, but some years later the illness returned and his hated eldest son was appointed Prince Regent, but to the great surprise of everyone, and the anger of his supporters, he did not dismiss the current Tory administration and install his Whig friends in power. With the support of the Prince Regent, the remaining daughters at last `broke free' and married, not all with the blessing of the Queen. George did not recover and lived on in a sad imaginary world of his own until his death in 1820.

The Hanoverian royal dynasty was undoubtedly a very strange family; dysfunctional would be the modern term. George is a character deserving some sympathy. His ideals greatly influenced Victoria when she became Queen, and led to our modern idea of monarchy. But none of his children could really be said to have led happy, fulfilling lives, despite the King's avowed wish that this was his aim. Janice Hadlow shows in great detail, based on meticulous research, how and why George's great Royal Experiment failed. She does so in clear elegant writing that shows a real understanding of the period and the characters in this grand play.


To The Hilt
To The Hilt
by Dick Francis
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A fairly typical Dick Francis thriller, 11 Jan. 2015
This review is from: To The Hilt (Paperback)
Alexander (Al) Kinloch is a painter, who lives alone in a remote bothy in the Scottish Highlands, on the estate of a land-owning relative, always referred to, rather irritatingly, as Himself. One day his peace is disturbed by the appearance of four thugs who only speak to say `Where is it?' and when he protests his ignorance they brutally beat him before leaving. He repeats this story to others, but towards the end of the book it emerges that Al does have something of value hidden at the bothy. This is rather odd. Are we expected to believe that he forgot about this? Otherwise why repeat the story? At the same time he learns of his father's illness and returns to London to be with his father in his last days. Here he is reluctantly drawn into a complicated story involving the embezzlement of millions of pounds of money from the family brewery and attempts by his sister and her odious husband to take control of both the brewery, a precious gold item, and a valuable racehorse. The latter of course is the way that Dick Francis `smuggles in' the inevitable horse-racing theme, although here it is not so central as usual. It also enables him to explore Al's complicated relationship with his estranged wife, who lives and owns a horse-training establishment. The various themes are eventually drawn together, and the villains get their just desserts, but not before a murder is discovered and Al is subjected to even more brutal treatment.

This is fairly typical Dick Francis thriller: several interwoven themes involving missing money or valuables; the horse racing scene; and some violence inflicted on the main character. It is in general well written, but not all the characters are believable. The young private detective who can effortlessly don a wide range of disguises, both male and female, that fool everyone, is a cliché, as is the gangster who doesn't mind beating someone violently, but draws the line at killing him. Nevertheless, `Up to the Hilt' has many good features and is worth reading as an antidote to the `serial killer' variety of thrillers.


Red Wolf
Red Wolf
by Liza Marklund
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thriller or social novel?, 5 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Red Wolf (Paperback)
This book is the fifth in a series featuring Annika Bengtzon, a reporter on a Stockholm newspaper. The story starts with her intention to write a series of articles about terrorism in Sweden, starting with the destruction in 1969 of a fighter jet on an airbase in a small town in the far north. A local reporter has found new information, but is killed by a car on the day before Annika arrives to interview him. By talking to a young boy who was the only witness, she realizes that the `accident' was in fact a deliberate killing. Her suspicions that the killing is related to the historic terrorist incident are strengthened when soon afterwards the boy is himself murdered. Through her connections with a senior policeman she learns that the suspects for the 1969 attack were the members of a tiny Maoist group, whose leader, codenamed Ragnwald, left Sweden to join ETA in Spain. But then two further murders occur, with evidence that they are also related to the old revolutionary group. Has Ragnwald returned, and if so why after so long? These are the questions Annika sets out to answer.

In an earlier volume in the series Annika was traumatized after being kidnapped by a deranged individual and this has left her insecure, both mentally and physically. She is not an attractive character. She often acts without thinking about possible consequences; is rather patronizing to `lesser' employees (air attendants, receptionists, etc.); and can be vindictive and unscrupulous, as shown by her devious (and illegal) actions in later destroying the career of her husband's lover. Nevertheless, Annika's Editor has tolerated her, but now begins to lose patience as she becomes increasingly obsessed with the case. This is where one of a number of subplots about modern Swedish society intervenes. This one is about office politics and the state of Swedish journalism. While clearly important for the author, it doesn't add much to the overall story. Neither does another one, which is Annika's interaction with her hysterical, near-alcoholic friend Anne, who has a complicated relationship with her ex-husband and later in the story looks as if she will lose her job in TV, partly due to a knock-on effect of an action of Annika's, although Anne does not know this. (You can see it has much in common with a complex soap opera.)

Eventually, all the stray ends are tied together, largely by Annika herself, and as a further twist also involve an important female minister of the current government. The finale involves a brutal confrontation with the few remaining members of the Maoist group in a locked hut in the numbing cold of an Artic night, and an explanation, strongly hinted at earlier, as to why Ragnwald has returned. The outcome is the death or capture of the remaining members of the group and (totally unbelievably) the discovery by Annika of a huge sum of money hidden by Ragnwald, the reward for which is sufficient to buy a new house for Anne and so help solve her personal problems (an unnecessary sweet touch).

There are many good points about this book. The descriptions of the intense cold in northern Sweden is excellent and most characters are well described and believable. Only Annika's husband is a bit two-dimensional and the police in Luleċ are portrayed rather unflatteringly. My main criticism is that the author does not seem to have made up her mind whether it is a thriller with some social background, or a general novel about modern Swedish society, told through the life and actions of an investigative journalist. There is a lot of detail about Annika's domestic daily life with her husband and two children that adds nothing to the thriller plot.


A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain
A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain
by James Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How art became an industry, 3 Jan. 2015
Nowadays, if we want to buy an original work of art, we naturally turn to an auction, or a dealer operating from an art gallery, and if originals are beyond our pocket, there are plenty of good quality reproductions available at affordable prices, again from dealers' galleries, or even via the Internet. It is now far less common to buy direct from the artist. But this is a relatively recent development. Formerly, buying original works of art was the preserve of the very wealthy, the aristocracy and landed gentry, and artists relied very much on their patronage. This situation changed radically at the beginning of the 19th century, and how this came about is the subject of this book.

There were several contributory factors. One was the rise of a new class of wealthy people, industrialists and entrepreneurs who made their money from commerce and wanted to purchase art, partly for the status it brought, but also to establish public and private collections, but did not have the time or knowledge to do so without the advice of experts. They needed middlemen to advise and negotiate purchases and to arrange the complex business of transporting artwork safely to England. The resulting collections also needed a new profession of curator to oversee them. Another important factor was the establishment of organisations, such as the Royal Academy, to represent the interests of artists. Most artists (Turner was a notable exception) were content to work through agents, leaving them to concentrate on what they did best, the production of works of art. They even, by and large, ceased to grind their own colours, or make their own canvases, as yet other new specialist trades grew in these areas. Art was steadily transformed into an industry, where making money was often the prime consideration.

A further major change occurred with developments in the production of prints, with the introduction of steel plates that could produce vastly greater print runs without loss of quality compared to copper plates or wood blocks. More money could often be made from the prints than from the original oil painting. Art books became much more affordable, and there were even mechanical machines that could accurately reproduce sculptures and scale them to a more domestic size if required. These developments created a whole new market of the rising middle class for works of art.

The story of how art became entwined with industry is described in detail in this book. Indeed some might say a little too much detail, because the endless lists of names of artists, dealers, art buyers etc. does become a little tedious at times and distracts from the main story. It also veers a bit off course towards the end with rather peripheral material about the short-lived `panoramas' and the like which showmen put on, and ends with a brief chapter about the Great Exhibition of 1851, which seems out of place. Nevertheless this is a well-written book about a fascinating subject that for me was something I had not previously considered. Along the way it contains many interesting snippets about the personalities of the artists and others who played a part in the transition.


Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
by Atul Gawande
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daily dilemmas of a junior surgeon, 18 Dec. 2014
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This volume was originally published in 2002, when the author was a junior doctor undergoing surgical training in an America hospital. It was the first of a subsequent series of books that, together with giving the 2014 BBC Reith Lectures, have established him as a household name. It consists of a series of essays based on cases he worked on. They vary very widely, but all are linked by highlighting important question about the role of the doctor in medical treatment and the doctor-patient relationship, particularly in a hospital setting where decisions often have to be taken quickly against a background of imprecise information or knowledge.

A perfect example of this, although extreme, is the final case he discusses of an otherwise healthy young woman who presents with an inflamed red leg. Is this a severe case of cellulitis (probability approaching 100%) or is the leg infected with the bacteria necrotizing fasciitis (probability vanishingly small, but with potentially devastating consequences)? The author honestly admits that hunches, gut feelings and other unscientific considerations inevitably play a role in decisions about what actions to take, however much he wishes that they didn't. He is just as frank about other aspects of medical practice, such as the need for surgeons to hone their technique on real patients, with the inevitable consequences that the less advantaged in society become the `guinea pigs' and some operations will not be done well. But when his own child becomes dangerously ill he honestly confesses that he does not want an operation to be done by an inexperienced junior surgeon, as would any parent wanting the best for their child. How do we resolve this dilemma?

There are many other dilemmas of medical practice discussed in the book, such as: how should poorly performing surgeons be disciplined in a way that does not make the profession in general too conservative and hence hinder surgical progress; to what extent is a surgeon entitled to `steer' a patient into a course of action that they, the doctor, thinks is the right choice, even though the risks may be high; and should a doctor attempt to prolong life, even when the treatment will not prevent the inevitable outcome and may even produce more suffering?

This well-written book brings home to the reader not just the technical difficulties of being a surgeon, but also the ethical responsibilities it entails and the stark problems that surgeons have to face daily. It can usefully be read by both medical students and professionals, as well as by anyone who is liable to be a patient at some time, and that means all of us.


Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medicine at end-of-life., 15 Dec. 2014
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Atul Gawande, an American general surgeon in a busy Boston hospital, is well known as the lead author of the `checklist' system, now used worldwide, which is designed to stop surgeons making errors before they even start an operation. In this book he turns his attention to `end-of-life' issues.

The spectacular advances in medical science in modern times have been matched by equivalent advances in practical medicine. Surgical procedures are now done that were previously thought impossibly dangerous, and new drugs can greatly prolong lives, so that living to be 100 is no longer a very rare event. But there is a price to pay. In all too many instances the extra years, and they can be substantial, are spent with a low quality of life, often in poorly managed and depressing care homes and the like. The end, when it inevitably comes, is a bad experience for everyone concerned, where all too often the emphasis on keeping the patient alive is frequently cruel and counterproductive. The author illustrates this by describing many cases he has personally been involved with, and by visiting care homes and similar facilities. They make difficult reading. He argues persuasively that by making such facilities the norm, medicine has failed its `clients'.

He also visits facilities where the emphasis is not just on safety and comfort, but focuses also on what the individual patient needs to achieve a good quality of life, and ultimately a good death. Hospices are just one example, but other very imaginative ones also exist, and examples are given that he has observed. In essence what he is saying is that there comes a time when the inevitability of death has to be accepted by the medical profession and at that stage the aim should be to achieve a painless and meaningful end. Remarkably, he quotes evidence that counseling and hospice care for dying persons has been shown to often result not only in a better death, but the dying person actually living longer than those under non-hospice medical care.

This a moving compassionate plea for a reappraisal of the way the medical profession views its role at the end of life and should be read by all medical practitioners. The author's previous books have been highly praised and have won prestigious awards and I am sure this one will too.


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