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Medicine and Public Health at the End of Empire Paperback – July 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Watizkin s book offers an insightful, research-based, political expose via a compelling historical depiction of the invariable link between medicine (in the form of health and health services delivery) and empire, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Health-care reform is a lively and contentious topic, but, as Waitzkin shows in this informative study, our debates on reform are too narrowly framed. His thoughtful analysis raises important questions about conventional assumptions of doctrine and practice and scrutinizes alternatives, among them notably the record of social medicine in Latin America." --Noam Chomsky, MIT

Influenced by Latin American ides of social medicine that link health outcomes to social conditions, Waitzkin (U. of New Mexico) analyzes historical and current patterns of medicine and public health in the Americas within the broader social context of capitalism and American imperialism. He first considers broad historical theme, including the role of the international health organizations in strengthening the empire, the development of the international market for health products and services, and the impact of resistance to empire on public health and health services in Chile and Cuba. Turning to more recent issues, he explores the impact of neoliberal policies on public health and medicine, relationships between macroeconomic policies and health, efforts to export the for-profit managed care model of the United States to other countries, the role of international financial institutions in pushing for privatization of health services, the ideologies of the different stakeholders involved in struggles over global trade and public health, and the impact of war on the health of military personnel. Finally, he presents various social medicine initiatives in Latin America as examples to follow as the empire wanes. --Eithne O Leyne, June 2011 Reference and Research Book News

"For the past three decades Howard Waitkzkin has been (along with Vicente Navarro) the leading social medicine theorist in the United States. Medicine and Public Health at the End of Empire provides a superb sampling of Waitzkin's wide-ranging work, and a readily accessible introduction." --Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein in Monthly Review

About the Author

Howard Waitzkin is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology and the School of Medicine at the University of New Mexico. He also practices medicine as a primary care practitioner in rural northern New Mexico. His work focuses on social conditions that lead to illness, unnecessary suffering, and early death.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers; 1 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594519528
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594519529
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Blair on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book on the topic. It delivers what it promises but I'd like to give my warnings/complaints:

It is very dense. Despite my passion for this subject, the amount of time I spent on each page is far longer than usual, even for academic literature. I feel as though I would need to re-read the book to really extract all the worthwhile information in it, but don't see myself being able to do that for quite some time. To read this book is a taxing affair.

Also, I grew weary of rereading some version of the phrase: "this process entailed such and such policy reforms and personal outcomes: deregulation of XYZ, public funding, increased privatization, worse personal health outcomes, increased cost per individual." While these outcomes are obviously at the crux of what the book is concerned with, I feel as though I have read the same sentence a few too many of times. It may have been desirable to write something like: "this resulted in the set of outcomes classically associated with neoliberal polices."

Aside from those two complaints, let me say that this book is highly valuable and I sincerely thank Waitzkin for writing it. It clarified much of what I had suspected and I believe it has both informed and positively impacted the way I will approach issues public health.

So again, if this sort of topic interests you and you are indeed dedicated to it, pick up the book and see what you think. It may address much of what you believed to be true, but it is helpful to see it put down in writing and exhaustively cited.

Thanks, Dr. Waitzkin, I look forward to your future works.
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Medicine and Public Health at the End of Empire
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