Saito Hisashi's firsthand account of methyl-mercury poisoning in Japan is not only the heartrending story of a physician's passionate relationship to his patients, people whose symptoms become chillingly familiar, but also of his tireless pursuit of medical integrity and social justice. There are haunting gems in this wonderful translation, from a patient's terrifying recognition that he or she has the crippling disease to the testimony of Niigata fishers who, because 'they live with the river,' already knew the source of pollution even before the government scientists arrived. Saito's story tells of our inescapable connection to nature and the social and medical consequences of poisoning it. There are not simply lessons for Japan in these thoughtful pages, but lessons for us all. --Brett L. Walker, Regents Professor of History, MSU
This is an important book, a 'must read' for citizens faced with pollutionrelated health issues and for health professionals who are searching for ways to deal with the effects of environmental pollution on the public in their care. Its matter-of-fact narrative is easy for any lay person to read and at the same time essential reading for scientific experts in this field. Why? Because through one local doctor's story about his life-long fight for justice on behalf of victims of mercury pollution in Niigata, Japan, this book shows us, by shining example, how health professionals and experts should respond to the impact of environmental pollution on public health, and to the tremendous political and professional pressure that accompanies it. --Aileen Mioko Smith (MPH), co-author, 'Minamata'