In 1976 Carleton Gajdusek received the Nobel Prize for his scientific research into Kuru, a degenerative brain disease that afflicted a small population of Fore people in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. This book is the story of the complexities of that scientific discovery as a social process. It is also the story of Gajdusek, a medical scientist whose intellectual energy and boundless egotism ensured that the fame and glory associated with this medical advance were his, unambiguously and singularly.

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In the early eighteenth century, smallpox inoculations were introduced to England and promoted by the charismatic Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, one of the many scintillating characters in David Isaacs’s outstanding book Defeating the Ministers of Death ...

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In 2009, pop star Michael Jackson, desperate to sleep, called his personal physician, Conrad Murray. To relieve the troubled star, Murray administered Propofol and anti-anxiety medications, then left. Jackson was found dead the next morning. Murray was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

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Edward sits on Sydney Harbour Bridge, considering jumping. It is 1948, and he has written several times to George VI about building a new naval base in the waters below, and not ...

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Imagine a child falling ill. Her fever worsens. Becoming paralysed, she screams in pain. Rushed to hospital, she is separated from her family for months. She undergoes agonising treatments: strapped in splints, encased in plaster, weeping as her limbs are stretched on rack-like machines. She may be encased in an 'iron lung' to breathe, like a coffin with her head po ...

Carol Middleton reviews 'In Love and War' by Liz Byrski

Carol Middleton
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Western Australian novelist and academic Liz Byrski has written a memoir that explores the reality behind a World War II myth: the ground-breaking work done by plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe to repair the disfigured faces, hands, and lives of fighter pilots and crews. Byrski grew up during the war in East Grinstead, Sussex, near the hospital where McIndoe worked, ...

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter reviews 'Graeme Clark' by Mark Worthing

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The story of Graeme Clark and the cochlear implant is often seen as the exception to the research trope lauding the brilliance of Australians at basic research but lamenting their ineptness commercialising these opportunities. This book is an adulatory story of Clark’s life.

Clark’s exceptional and driven journey is breathlessly relat ...

Rachel Buchanan reviews 'Silent Shock' by Michael Magazanik

Rachel Buchanan
Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Silent Shock is an ambitious, important book. It is a work of history, a work of journalism, and a forensic exposé of hideous corporate negligence, all woven around the lives of one modest Melbourne family.

Former journalist turned lawyer Michael Magazanik was one of the dozens of lawyers, barristers, and researchers who worked on a recent class acti ...