Medicine & Health / Anthropology


The Healer's Tale
Transforming Medicine and Culture
Sharon R. Kaufman

"Kaufman's strategy is brilliant. The lives of humane and thoughtful physicians, spanning the era of medicine's greatest change, are exactly the place to start thinking about how to reconstruct medical care." —Mary Catherine Bateson, Ph.D., George Mason University

"With reform in the air, The Healer's Tale is a timely and thoughtful inquiry into the tremendous changes that have transformed medicine in the past half-century.... It is carefully written and rewards close reading [and] can certainly be recommended warmly to those who are concerned about the ethical climate that runaway technology has created in medicine. It is also an excellent biography of seven intriguing and important physicians."—J. Gordon Scannell, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine

"There are many important questions raised in this fine book, if only a few answers, which suggests the rare delight Kaufman's comments and her material provide. The fragmentation of medical values, whether a good doctor requires as much knowledge of the person as of the disease, the claims created by a scientific medicine dependent upon the largesse of government grants, the conversion of medicine from 'cottage industry' to entrepreneurial endeavor, all had their beginning in medicine's Golden Age. Their heirs, today's practitioners, may have mistaken technology for their task, science for their religion, and business for their creed, but if the spirit of the physicians in this book wins out, medicine's Golden Age is yet in the future."—Howard Spiro, M.D., Journal of the American Medical Association

Sharon R. Kaufman is associate professor of anthropology and research medical anthropologist at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of The Ageless Self: Sources of Meaning in Late Life, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.


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Kaufman's book is purple and white with a black and white image of hands holding medical tools.

February 1995
LC: 92-034798 R
368 pp. 6 x 9
28 halftones
ISBN 0-299-13550-0 Cloth $29.00 s
ISBN 0-299-13554-3 Paper $15.95 x

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