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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Words from the Journalistic Maestro, 15 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations (Paperback)
Before he died of throat cancer, John Diamond started work on this, his last book, in which he critically assesses the world of 'alternative medicine', which, as many of his Times Magazine readers were well aware, he dismissed as unscientific and phoney (hence 'Snake Oil'). It was to become his 'unfinished symphony', and the 'meat' of the text lasts just 80 pages; before it suddenly stops. The rest of the book is padded-out with selected essays from his Times articles, which range from his earlier, lighter, works depicting the various stresses and strains of modern life; before descending down a darker road, describing his own personal decline and fall in the grip of his cancer. Whether these essays ('Other Preoccupations') should have been appended is a matter of opinion. I think they detract from the message of the book, which should have been published as it was, and the essays collected for a separate publication. Perhaps the publishers thought that the public would have felt cheated with just the 80 pages...? They shouldn't have worried - The book is yet another tour-de-force of his unique writing style and skill; he demolishes the various charlatans at work extracting money from the gullable, and it is only to be regretted that he was unable to finish this important job, as the world of 'alternative medicine' is only very rarely (if at all) confronted for what it is. So read it, enjoy his wonderful writing skills, inform yourself about the phoney world of alternative medicine, but don't, whatever you do, think of John Diamond as 'brave' - he would have hated you for it (and if you want to know why then please read his seminal work: "C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too").
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