Synopses & Reviews
We are a diabetic nation: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans born in this century will become diabetic. James Hirschand#8217;s myth-shattering blend of history, reportage, advocacy, and memoir will speak for, and to, the 20 million Americans who live with this disease. Cheating Destiny offers revealing views of the diabetic subculture, the urge toward secrecy that many diabetics feel, the glycemic rollercoaster they ride constantly, and the remarkable perseveranceand#151;even heroismand#151;required for survival.
Hirsch is uniquely qualified to write this book. An award-winning journalist and best-selling author, he has lived with type 1 diabetes for twenty-five years. His brother Irl, also a diabetic, is one of the countryand#8217;s leading diabetologists. Most poignantly, he knows firsthand the toll diabetes can take on parents: his three-year-old son was diagnosed with the disease while Hirsch was writing this book.
Hirsch draws on all this expertise to craft an incisive, surprising portrayal of the fascinating science behind the disease and the skyrocketing impact of diabetes on our economy and society. Most striking is his candid, authoritative writing about the psychological and emotional hurdles that diabetics confront every day. Anyone who lives with diabetesand#151;or loves a diabeticand#151;will find here an empowering voice of empathy.
"Hirsch, a type 1 diabetic, agonized when his three-year-old son began exhibiting the symptoms of diabetes. More, he was prompted to take a look at diabetes and how it is treated in this country and the possibility of finding a cure for this ravaging disease. What he finds isn't always encouraging. Skillfully combining journalistic expertise with his personal story, Hirsch, a former reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (Hurricane: Riot and Remembrance) asks the editor of a hugely popular Web site about the quality of care for diabetes in this country. The response: 'It stinks.' Hirsch details the physical complications that arise for insulin-dependent type 1 diabetics and health insurers' reluctance to fully reimburse relatively low-cost education for diabetics, resulting in their need for high-cost diagnostic testing and hospital care. Some of Hirsch's reporting uncovers a common blame-the-patient attitude in doctors. The author also covers the controversial studies of Denise Faustman, whose groundbreaking research has produced promising results in mice, and the stem-cell research of Douglas Melton. Overall, this is an informative and moving analysis of a disease with a death rate that, high as it is, the author says is underreported. 16 pages of b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Hirschs myth-shattering blend of history, reportage, advocacy, and memoir speaks to the 20 million Americans who live with diabetes. He offers revealing views of the diabetic subculture, the glycemic rollercoaster they ride, and the remarkable perseverance--even heroism--required for survival.
A candid, provocative, and moving account of one of Americas fastest-growing health issues
If you or someone you love has diabetes, you are not alone more than twenty million Americans now live with the disease. In Cheating Destiny, the best-selling author James S. Hirsch offers an incisive, sometimes surprising portrait of diabetes in America. Hirsch is intimately familiar with the disease: he has lived with type 1 diabetes for three decades. His brother, Irl, also a diabetic, is one of the countrys leading diabetologists. Most poignantly, his son Garrett was diagnosed at age three.
Hirsch draws on his unique expertise to provide an engaging blend of reportage, memoir, history, and advocacy. He offers revealing views of life with diabetes: the urge toward secrecy that many diabetics feel, the everyday psychological and emotional hurdles, and the perseverance even heroism required for survival. Hirsch takes a look at the science behind the disease and its treatment, and lays bare the impact on our economy, society, and our families. Anyone who lives with diabetes or loves a diabetic will find this book essential reading.
About the Author
James S. Hirsch, a former reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, is the author of Cheating Destiny, the bestseller Hurricane: The Miracle Journey of Rubin Carter, Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy, and Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam. He is also a principal of Close Concerns, a consultancy and publishing company that specializes in diabetes. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sheryl, and their children, Amanda and Garrett.
Table of Contents
Prologue 1 1. Diabetic Utopia 9 2. Insulinand#8217;s Poster Girl 25 3. The Burden of Control 45 4. The Diabetes Queen 56 5. Rewarding Failure, Punishing Excellence 74 6. You Have to Be Brave, or Else It Hurts 88 7. New Lows 112 8. Dr. Bernsteinand#8217;s Solution 126 9. High-tech Tradeoffs 135 10. Pushing Back the Horizon 152 11. The Magical Beta Cell 171 12. The Trials of a Maverick Scientist 184 13. The Price of Survival 220 14. Survivor Tales 240 Epilogue 257 Notes 269 Bibliography 276 Acknowledgments 279 Index 285