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Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0226001395
ISBN-10: 0226001393
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The vicious circle of poverty and illness is powerfully portrayed in Abraham's ( Reinventing Home ) account of an uninsured, black, four-generational family in one of Chicago's "poorest and sickest" neighborhoods. Included in their medical misfortunes: the amputation of both legs of a diabetic grandmother; a drug-addicted husband on kidney dialysis who undergoes a kidney transplant; a partially stroke-paralyzed son; and children who lack primary care and immunization. This personally observed, lucid chronicle and call for reform of our ailing health system covers all levels of responsibility in the medical establishment, and deserves scrutiny by our administration's health service planners. Abraham concludes that a reformed health care system should set limits on health spending while stressing "caring" over "curing."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This is a refreshing chronicle of the inadequate patchwork of federally funded health programs caring for our nation's urban poor. Journalist Abraham uses the medically plagued Banes family as a springboard for his analyses of the convoluted, mysterious, and at times nonsensical healthcare system that holds the urban poor captive. Unlike Alex Kotlowitz, whose There Are No Children Here ( LJ 4/1/91) elucidates the glaring inequities in our social system through the powerful story of two boys, Abraham uses the Banes's ill health as a pulpit for reciting numerous studies, quoting scholars, and commenting on current policy debates. Abraham does an excellent job of explaining the maze of healthcare programs available to the urban poor. More importantly, he clearly identifies in human and policy terms how these same programs have failed a population desperately in need of help. Recommended for most collections.
- Karen A. Wolin, Univ. of Illinois Coll. of Medicine at Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (November 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226001393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226001395
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Laurie Colwin was a talented writer and had a real feel for the essential qualities of great food. Though not a chef or professional cook, she used her writing skills to delve into the mysteries of what makes good food great. And she did that with some of the funniest, sharpest, best writing since M.F.K. Fisher.
Alas, Laurie died in 1992, much too young, so you have to savor every scrap of writing she left us, in essays for Gourmet Magazine, and these, in her Home Cooking volumes. Colwin wrote some novels as well, but really, her food writing is what I appreciate the most.as
Colwin's writing is opinionated and passionate: she goes into raptures over things most 7 year olds (and quite a few adults) would gag over; succotash, beets, goat's milk yogurt. Yet her sense of what makes food essentially wonderful will have even the most confirmed vegetable-a-phobe at least thinking about trying her succotash recipe or maybe even looking at a raw beetroot with calm impartiality. In case you are certain you will still shun beets and lima beans, at least read her description of how to roast a duck. It's splendid.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a graduate student writing my thesis on urban health care issues, I must say this book is a gem! Laurie Kaye Abraham makes the most compelling arguments for health care reform in this book while walking the fine line of objectivity at the same time. Now I know I can truly say that I understand why many urban areas suffer from some of the same public health woes as third-world countries. Thank you, Ms. Abraham for inspiring me and thanks to the Banes family for allowing us into their lives.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
'More Home Cooking' by Laurie Colwin is the kind of book that really makes you wish you could become friends with the author. Unfortunately, the author is no longer with us and I believe this volume was published posthumously, so there is a lot more than the usual barrier between celebrity and mere mortal between reader and writer.

Like the first volume, 'Home Cooking', chapters in the book are essays composed of both culinary and autobiographical material, although the book is not a memoir a la Ruth Reichl's two books. It is also not culinary criticism or exposition in the style of John Thorne. It is most similar to the kind of essays written by M.F.K. Fisher and Elizabeth David, one of the author's heroes.

In one of her essays, Ms. Colwin puts her finger on a reason for the popularity of cookbooks and cooking shows in the face of what some people claim to be the disappearance of home cooking. Reading about cooking is simply very comforting and reassuring. I find that I may not learn a whole lot from a particular Ina Garten or Paula Deen or Sara Moulton show on the Food Network, but it is certainly reassuring to watch, if even for the fourteenth time, how Ina cooks salmon so she can have it at two different meals with her guests being none the wiser regarding the doubling up on the effort.

Ms. Colwin gained this insight by reading Elizabeth David's 'Italian Food' while under the influence of a particularly acute hangover. And, her admiration of David's style is well demonstrated in the way Ms. Colwin writes recipes. There is none of the formal list of ingredients at the top with neatly laid out prep instructions so one can do their mise en place in true French brigade fashion.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Reiss Newman on July 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I think I've read every book Laurie Colwin has written, and I miss her. I refer to both her food books frequently-- both for recipes and for her down-home wisdom about what's good (if not necessarily good for you. Her strong opinions are not necessarily mine-- I still haven't acquired a taste for paprika, and she uses way too much butter, but her gingerbread recipe is the one comfort food I turn to on snowy days, and her essays on roasting chicken are a treasure. Having this book (both of them, actually) is like having a really good friend who loves to cook and eat as much as you do.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lisa2 on June 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's been many years since I've actually indulged my love for cooking. My food preparation had long been limited to two choices: (1)add Lawry's seasoning salt and bake/fry/broil, and (2)fast food. Recently, I became reacquanited with my inner chef and became obsessed with cookbooks and books about food. I came across More Home Cooking during one of my recent trips to the local bookstore. I was intrigued by the tag, "A Writer Returns to the Kitchen." (I love good writing and I love good food.) The chapter titles sounded promising: Why I Love Cookbooks; The Case of the Mysterious Flatbread; How to Cook Like an American; Turkey Angst...Plus, the book had recipes! This was clearly a writer who had more than a passing interest in food; this was a true believer. So, what of this book? It's simply wonderful. It's not a book you rush through all at once, but rather one you can carry with you and savor in those brief windows of time throughout your day: during lunch break, while waiting in a line, in the car wash...Colwin's writing is so well-done it seems effortless and comes across as a conversation with an articulate friend who loves to talk about food. She's opinionated, good-humored, and honest in her essays about the merits of certain foods, the drawbacks of others, advice about food and living, and events from her own daily life. From her chapter entitled, In Search of Latvian Bread, regarding her attempt to replicate this bread: "The results were, to my mind, mixed. An Estonian came for supper and said it tasted exactly like the bread he had had in Moscow. I was not sure that this was a compliment. A dancer friend, also at dinner, tasted it and said he liked the other bread (miche from the greenmarket) better.Read more ›
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Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America
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