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Cheating Destiny: Living With Diabetes, America's Biggest Epidemic
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Cheating Destiny: Living With Diabetes, America's Biggest Epidemic

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  104 Ratings  ·  26 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 Hirsch’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 subcultu ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 8th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

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Katharine Grubb
Aug 10, 2007 Katharine Grubb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ANYONE who has, or knows someone with, diabetes
I read a review for this in the Seattle Times and cut it out, only to lose it in my piles of stuff. I recovered it, then finally checked it out from the library. I wish I had read this sooner! The book goes into a wonderful history of this disease and its treatments through history. Of interesting importance is the discussion of the treatment of insulin over the past (almost) 100 years. Hirsch interviews people with diabetes, tells their stories in a way that illustrates the gravity of the disea ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Melanie rated it it was amazing
EVERYONE should read this book!!!

This was a very emotional read for me. The author has type 1 diabetes, and the book outlines his 3 year old son also being diagnosed with this devastating disease. As my family has lived through this same event--my husband has been type 1 diabetic for 25 years, and our son was just diagnosed at age 10 9mos ago. I have a hard time describing what that feels like, but James Hirsch has done a beautiful job of it.
The book also includes the history of the disease (bot
Aug 05, 2008 Robin rated it it was amazing
An amazing read for anyone with a child of type 1 diabetes. Mr. Hirsch has perfectly penned the words of heartache and hope associated with this childhood epidemic. Our school nurse (she is employed as an ER nurse in the local hospital) read it to better care for the 2 diabetes students and it was eye opening for her. She was able to fully grasp and understood the priority of "tight control". I think it would be a fabulous tool for administration and teachers serving our children.
Jun 09, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kristen by: Sharene
I read this on the recommendation of our Endocrinological Physicians Assistant.

I was hoping to gain a deeper understanding and education in diabetics. I gained that.

I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about the politics driving research into disease.

And I learned the history of diabetes care and the more recent research into solving its mystery.

Mostly I was depressed. As good as it is to know that other people fight this chronic condition every day and do well in the end, it still is
Mar 09, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
An amazing read for anyone interested in understanding diabetes and the challenges those who have it face everyday, this book covered everything from the history of its treatment to modern day research to find the ever-elusive cure; the stupifying willingness of insurance companies to cover treatment for complications yet their unwillingness to pay for prevention of the disease; the daily struggles of people living with the disease today and stories of those who survived in the past against all ...more
Dec 25, 2015 Tracy rated it liked it
A lot of historical information with the author's personal stories as a central theme. It is very well written, and not as boggy as many nonfiction books, even with so many scientific/medical terms.
Spencer H.
Apr 06, 2014 Spencer H. rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes when i was eleven, and this book gives you a whole new perspective on diabetes.
Jul 12, 2012 Videoclimber(AKA)MTsLilSis rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, diabetes
I could totally relate to this author and this book. Like his son, I too was 3 years old and weighed 33 pounds when I was diagnosed. I enjoyed reading about the history of the disease. Much of the history was heartbreaking. The story about the boy who asked for the canary, just so he could eat the birdseed, and later starved to death, is one I will not soon forget! Some of the facts and figures were boring to me, but I live them so I know about them. I think this is the best book about diabetes ...more
Nichole Ferguson
Jul 07, 2013 Nichole Ferguson rated it it was amazing
Every person with a child with Type 1 Diabetes should read this book. In fact, I think it should be handed out at the hospital on diagnosis day. Hirsch gives a history of the disease that educates, and he gives you things to think about and ponder. What I love most about the book is his honest, real look at diabetes. He himself has T1D, as does his son and brother. You don't get more real than that! As a parent of a child with T1D, this book evoked just about every emotion possible in me. Anger, ...more
Aug 08, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
This book hit really close to home, but it was intensely interesting for that very reason. I read it just months after my own diagnosis and it gave me a really detailed background of the disease, as well as info on treatment and the whole scandal of the health care industry. It was the first time I found a publication that didn't focus on the predominant Type 2 diabetes, and actually addressed those rare Type 1s out there and gave them some credit. A great read, very interesting!
Dec 30, 2013 Marisa rated it it was amazing
This is an informative and highly readable book about the history and future of diabetes and its treatment, and equally importantly about the experiences of people (young, old, patients, parents, family, and friends) affected by diabetes. The emphasis is on type 1 diabetes but Hirsch touches on type 2 diabetes too. Fascinating and engaging, a mix of academic/research content and personal narratives. Highly recommend for anyone with or touched by diabetes.
Jul 09, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it
I was surprised by how much I learned in the book given that I've had diabetes for half my life now. I enjoyed reading the history of diabetes treatment and coming to understand recent research. This is a nice compilation of diabetes management history and recent developments that includes personal insights from the author, his family, and individuals he interviewed, making it much more compelling than anything I've read about diabetes before.
Apr 14, 2008 Randy rated it it was amazing
While full of insights about the disease and living with diabetes, one of the most eye-opening things about this book is how it reveals the fundamental problems with our health care system. I’ve heard it said may times that in the U.S. we have a sick-care system rather than a health care system, but I never really understand what that meant until I read Cheating Destiny.

Not only fascinating book, but a hugely important one as well.
Jun 26, 2009 Betsy rated it really liked it
The author describes his personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes as well as a parent of a child with Type 1. He also delves into the history of diabetes in the modern age. This is a difficult subject to approach and he makes it understandable for those without personal experience or background of diabetes. It jumps around, though, making it a bit confusing to read. This may be a problem with editing, not writing per se.
Mar 01, 2011 Lesley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-diabetes
This is one of the best, most honest and touching books I have read about diabetes. The history is well-researched and interesting (as well as relevant to the situation today) and Hirsch's writing about his own and his son's diabetes was moving and helpful. I think this book would mostly speak to people who have diabetes or a parent of a diabetic child. Now, I'm looking for a book by/for spouses of diabetics.
Brandi D'angelo
Apr 11, 2016 Brandi D'angelo rated it it was amazing
Really good read! He covers a lot of ground from early research, old treatments, personal stories, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed and found it hard to put down.
Apr 09, 2013 Bridgett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I don't thinkI can write a review of this book right now. But I do want to say that for me, three weeks after my 14 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, this book is necessary. Emotional and grateful and sad, ever so sad, I am grateful for this book.
Aug 04, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of T1 diabetes - science, therapeutic history, economics, pursuit of cure, and the challenges of living with the condition. Very well researched and reported. Highly recommend to anyone who wants to get smart fast.
Apr 23, 2009 Trey rated it really liked it
This book is personal for me on several levels, but even if you are not personally affected by diabetes, it is worth checking out for a fascinating case study of everything that is wrong with our health care system in the United States.
Jan 31, 2011 Laura added it
A beautifully written and reseached book. Both illuminating and at times powerfully emotional.
Robert Holman
Mar 01, 2013 Robert Holman rated it really liked it
Well researched (especially the chapter on Dr. Denise Faustman).
Darcy Daniels
Jun 08, 2010 Darcy Daniels rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read if you are a diabetic or love a diabetic.
Oct 18, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
Very good book about diabetes.
Sep 16, 2011 Evelyn rated it really liked it
Living with diabetes
Oct 15, 2008 Martha rated it it was amazing
This is the most thorough exploration of diabetes I've come across. The author, James Hirsch, was diagnosed with Type 1 as a teenager. His brother (also Type 1) is a leading endocrinologist, and his son was diagnosed at age 3. It is a moving and sympathetic view of juvenile diabetes, chronicling the day-to-day struggle of living with a chronic, incurable, auto-immune disease. Insulin is not a cure, as this book painfully points out. This book also notes the epidemic growth of Type 2 diabetes, wh ...more
May 28, 2011 Pantea rated it it was amazing
Kristin Dehmler
Kristin Dehmler marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
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May 01, 2016
Buckly Stephens
Buckly Stephens rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2016
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