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Galileo's Gout: Science in an Age of Endarkenment Hardcover – April 1, 2007
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Reviewer: Dr W. Palmer
This is an interesting and important book, but the reviews quoted on the cover of the book by the main reviewing journals appear to place this book in a class above its reality. There is an introduction, followed by twenty articles, most of which have been published elsewhere; in addition there are thorough references, some acknowledgements and an index. Weissmann rails against the general faults of commercialism and in particular Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) etc. He sees the organization of modern medicine and the lack of individual care as hampering the general progress of medicine in the USA. Dr Weissman may well be right, but somehow the hagiographies of his predecessors make the unbiased observer wonder that if all the these men acted as well as he indicates, how is the practice of medicine in such dire straits today.
When he diverts from castigating the medical system and tells stories from the history of science, say in his piece on Galileo or on Dr Julian, he tells these stories brilliantly. In other words with twenty articles to choose from, the reader will certainly find much of value, but there may be dull bits! Because the pieces are existing articles, there is some degree of repetition as similar areas are mentioned in slightly different contexts. Overall- a book which is well-worth reading.