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That Good Night

Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

by Sunita Puri

Hardcover, 301 pages

"A heart-wrenching and provocative memoir about how the essential parts of one young woman's early life—her mother's work as a surgeon and her spiritual practice—led her to become a doctor and to question the premise that medicine exists to prolong life at all costs. Dr. Sunita Puri's parents grew up in urban India, in extreme poverty. Yet they managed not only to reach America, but her mother become a renowned anesthesiologist too. As a young girl, Puri realized that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was nearly impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and faith. Puri spent her childhood in nurse's lounges waiting for her mother to exit the OR, and also in deep conversation with her parents about the role of faith in shaping a compassionate life. As a young woman, Puri followed her mother into medicine. But as the years of her training passed, Puri began to question medicine's power. Were patients' lives being saved, or merely prolonged? What did doctors understand whenpatients use words like "warrior," "survive," "recover"? Eventually, Puri's questions led her to palliative care—a new field, one at work translating the border between medical intervention and quality of life care. By helping patients think through radical medical decisions, Puri balanced the pull of her family's faith and the incessant and sterile push of Western medicine. Written in gorgeous, evocative prose, That Good Night shares Puri's own stories along with her patients' to reveal a nuanced and optimistic portrait of medicine and hospitalization, arming readers with questions that will revolutionize the way we connect with our doctors"—

The Problem of Democracy

The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality

by Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein

Hardcover, 543 pages

"How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy. Until now, no one has properly dissected the intertwined lives of the second and sixth (father and son) presidents. John and John Quincy Adams were brilliant, prickly politicians and arguably the most independently minded among leaders of the founding generation. Distrustful of blind allegiance to a political party, they brought a healthy skepticismof a brand-new system of government to the country's first 50 years. They were unpopular for their fears of the potential for demagoguery lurking in democracy, and—in a twist that predicted the turn of twenty-first century politics—they warned against,but were unable to stop, the seductive appeal of political celebrities Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. In a bold recasting of the Adamses' historical roles, The Problem of Democracy is a major critique of the ways in which their prophetic warnings have been systematically ignored over the centuries. It's also an intimate family drama that brings out the torment and personal hurt caused by the gritty conduct of early American politics. Burstein and Isenberg make sense of the presidents' somewhat iconoclastic, highly creative engagement with America's political and social realities. By taking the temperature of American democracy, from its heated origins through multiple upheavals, the authors reveal the dangers and weaknesses that have been present since the beginning. They provide a clear-eyed look at a decoy democracy that masks the reality of elite rule while remaining open, since the days of George Washington, to a very undemocratic result in the formation of a cult surrounding the person of an elected leader"—