Alvin Silverstein Paul Showers - Essay

Paul Showers

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Sleep, that condition in which we spend approximately one third of our lives, is a no man's land which scientists have begun to penetrate only in recent decades…. ["Sleep and Dreams"] covers the basic knowledge that has accumulated so far and describes some of the ingenious methods research scientists have used in their attempts to pin down the illusive facts about this universal but highly subjective experience….

The Silversteins have compressed a lot of interesting material in simple, lucid prose that is mercifully devoid of the florid metaphors science writers sometimes feel obliged to impose on the more tolerant adult reader.

Paul Showers, "'Sleep and Dreams'," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1974 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), July 28, 1974, p. 10.

[Alcoholism] is the sort of concise, competent research report the Silversteins turn out when at their best. With a minimum on the history and a bit more on the production of drinking alcohol, the authors concentrate on its effects on the behavior and on the body (tending if anything to underrate the damage moderately heavy drinking can do to the brain and liver), with precise data on physiological and legal aspects of drinking and driving, properly uncategorical reviews of the different definitions, stages and symptoms of alcoholism, and news of current thinking on its causes and treatment. Of interest are several studies suggesting some indirect hereditary connection, others indicating that it might be possible for an alcoholic to control his drinking without swearing off entirely, and promising trials in treating alcoholics with lithium. The Silversteins consider some problems peculiar to teenagers such as alcoholic parents, but they treat their readers throughout with the respect due responsible young adults.

"Young Adult Non-Fiction: 'Alcoholism'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1975 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLIII, No. 21, November 1, 1975, p. 1245.