cover image Parabola Book of Healing

Parabola Book of Healing

Bill Moyers, Lawrence E. Sullivan, Anatole Broyard. Continuum, $24.95 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-8264-0633-0

This collection of essays by John Donne, Norman Cousins, Anatole Broyard, Joseph Bruchac, Maya Deren and others considers what health is and how some people have contrived to encourage it, from the ``all-night healing dance'' of the Kung bushmen of the Kalahari Desert (as noted by Richard Katz) to the power of poetry, observed among some inmates at Buchenwald (and remembered by Jacques Lusseyran). There are as many ways of healing as there are illnesses--or writers--and the scope of the book does nothing to constrict or unnaturally define these. In fact, that's its strength. In ``Germs,'' Lewis Thomas ( The Lives of a Cell ) reassures, ``We still think of human disease as the work of an organized, modernized kind of demonology, in which the bacteria are the most visible and centrally placed of our adversaries,'' whereas ``our arsenals for fighting off bacteria are so powerful, and involve so many different defense mechanisms, that we are in more danger from them than from the invaders.'' Less technically, the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh mildly suggests, ``Do not be impatient.'' This is a better companion than most for readers thinking about endurance or mortality. (Jan.)