10 Booklist October 15, 2015 www.booklistreader.com
about football and concussions in 1992, when
Pro Bowl wide receiver Al Toon retired from
the New York Jets at 29 because of brain inju-
ry. The significant evidence
Omalu has gathered reveals
that the wildly popular
sport, in which helmets do
not fully protect brains that
bang against skull walls on
impact, can cause “chronic
a progressive degenerative
disease in people with a history of repetitive
head trauma. It all began in 2002, when Om-
alu examined the brain of Pittsburgh Steeler
star Mike Webster, who died at 50. When he
published his findings in Neurosurgery, the
NFL tried to discredit the article. So dramat-
ic is Omalu’s quest, later this year producer
Ridley Scott will release a movie version, Con-
cussion, starring Will Smith as Dr. Omalu.
If the film is half as good as this book, the
multibillion-dollars-a-year NFL will feel some
real pressure. —Karen Springen
The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years
on the Front Lines of Medicine, a
Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the
War on Cancer Is Winnable—and How
We Can Get There.
By Vincent T. DeVita and Elizabeth
Nov. 2015. 336p. Farrar/Sarah Crichton, $28
(9780374135607); e-book (9780374714178). 616.99.
With his signing of the National Cancer
Act in 1971, President Nixon authorized a
war on cancer—an ambitious, federally funded research initiative. Since then, over $100
billion has been spent trying to eliminate the
disease. Oncologist DeVita, a former director
of the National Cancer Institute, adamantly
believes we are winning the war. In this
straight-talking, optimistic memoir, he recalls the recent history of cancer research and
treatment, covering personalities and politics,
bureaucracy and ego, discoveries and failures.
He points to victories over childhood leukemias and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a decline in
cancer’s overall mortality, and refinements of
treatment modalities. According to DeVita,
more than 68 percent of cancers can be cured.
He chronicles shifts in the way cancer is now
treated: combination therapy (using multiple
chemotherapy agents together), immunotherapy, and targeted therapy (utilizing drugs
that attack specific molecular abnormalities of
cancer cells). DeVita remains a realist: “I don’t
think there will ever be a world in which cancer doesn’t occur. It’s in our biology.” Yet he
and his colleagues have led the way in forcing
the disease to retreat. — Tony Miksanek
The Doctor’s Kidney Diets: A Nutritional
Guide to Managing and Slowing the
Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease.
By Mandip S. Kang.
Oct. 2015. 224p. Square One, paper, $17.95
With an estimated 26 million U.S. adults
The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from
suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD),
nephrologist Kang promotes diet to balance
body fluids and chemical levels to help sta-
bilize kidney function and enhance overall
health. To guide readers in putting this in
practice, he offers more than 50 kidney-
friendly recipes with a list of CKD diets plus
comprehensive nutritional information, in-
cluding diabetic exchanges. Part 1’s overview
of kidney function, disease, and nutrition
importance includes discussion of nutrients
best limited plus those that safeguard kidney
function, eating out, and vitamin and min-
eral supplements. Though no cookie-cutter
renal diet exists, Kang looks to and explains
the DASH (hypertension), heart-disease,
and other commonly prescribed CKD diets.
In the second part, he provides dietitian-
developed recipes for breakfasts, entrées, sides,
salads, snacks, and treats, providing a diverse
range of options. Back matter includes a re-
sources listing and a guide to foods low and
high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium,
making this a valuable guide to both patients
and practitioners. — Whitney Scott
an Uncertain Science.
By Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Oct. 2015. 120p. Simon & Schuster/TED, $16.99
(9781476784847); e-book (9781476784854). 610.92.
Unlike Mukherjee’s substantial, Pulitzer
Prize–winning The Emperor of All Maladies
(2010), this “field guide” is a slim volume. The
Stanford-, Oxford-, and Harvard-educated
physician, who now teaches at Columbia University, spells out just three “laws”: “a strong
intuition is much more powerful than a
weak test”; “‘normals’ teach us rules; ‘outliers’
teach us laws”; “for every perfect medical experiment, there is a perfect human bias.” The
prose is lovely, often witty, always clear: “The
‘screen everyone for everything’ approach—
Dr. McCoy’s handheld all-body scanner in
Star Trek—works if we have infinite resources
and absolutely perfect tests, but it begins to fail
when resources and time are finite.” Mukherjee
tucks in interesting tidbits (the human genome
has about 24,000 genes; most women with
breast cancer who relapse after surgery do so
because the cancer migrates before surgery,
not because surgeons left behind “remnant
scraps of malignant tissue”). As part of the
TED series, this accompanies a TED Talk by
Mukherjee available at TED.com, and it is a
fast and informative read. —Karen Springen
Pound for Pound: A Story of One
Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs
Who Loved Her Back to Life.
By Shannon Kopp.
Oct. 2015. 288p. Morrow, $25.99 (9780062370228). 613.
In her raw and poignant recovery memoir,
Kopp shares her struggles with a debilitating
eating disorder and the stories of the ani-
mals who gave her hope. After a happy and
stable childhood, Kopp’s teenage years be-
came unhinged when her father’s alcoholism
surfaced. Battling self-judgment and unre-
alistic standards of beauty, Kopp descended
into the dark world of bulimia. Her silent
struggle lasted for years, with periods of sta-
bility marred by devastating relapses. During
these ups and downs, Kopp rediscovers her
love for dogs and begins working at the San
Diego Humane Society, finding solace in
canine companionship. By sharing vignettes
of individual dogs and their uncondition-
al love of life, Kopp traces her battle with
bulimia and reveals how unwanted shelter
dogs helped her finally recover and find self-
acceptance. Pound for Pound is an emotional
reminder of the strength of the human spirit
and how dogs are more than our best friend;
they can also be guides, inspiring us to be
compassionate, share joy, and live life in the
moment. —Patricia Smith
YA: Teens coping with eating disorders or
other struggles might find hope in Kopp’s
tale of healing in the company of dogs. PS.
Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with
Meat Is Killing Us and What We Can Do
By Garth Davis.
Oct. 2015. 384p. HarperOne, $27.99 (9780062279309).
If cattle is king, then chicken and pork certainly must be members of the royal court.
Prime steakhouses, roadside rib joints, grills
on every patio: Americans are consumed
with eating meat. Does a person really need
to chow down on this much ground chuck?
Davis, a pioneer in weight-loss-management
surgery, doesn’t believe so. Once dangerously
overweight himself, he personally transformed from a self-proclaimed protein addict
to a learned proponent of a plant-based diet.
From bacon at breakfast to steak at supper,
Americans eat more animal protein per capita
than any other nation. And what do we get
for this high honor? High cholesterol, high
blood pressure, and diabetes, among other
ailments. Through extensive analysis of popular protein-pushing diet plans and meticulous
assessment of nutritional research, Davis’ passionate advocacy of a more healthful eating
plan is also refreshingly transparent. Every
claim and recommendation is fully annotated, making this reasoned and reasonable
treatise a life changer in the truest sense of the
word. —Carol Haggas
Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing
Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health
By Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi.
Nov. 2015. 320p. Harmony, $26 (9780804140133);
e-book (9780804140140). 613.
We’ve been told that genes are the permanent blueprint of our lives. But according
to best-selling author Chopra (The Future
of God, 2014) and Alzheimer expert Tanzi,
everything we think or do can affect our
genetic outcome. Part 1 of this intriguing
book is filled with medical experiments and
conjecture from top doctors and researchers explaining the technicalities of DNA