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Arrowsmith Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As the son and grandson of physicians, Sinclair Lewis had a store of experiences and imparted knowledge to draw upon for Arrowsmith.Published in 1925, after three years of anticipation, the book follows the life of Martin Arrowsmith, a rather ordinary fellow who gets his first taste of medicine at 14 as an assistant to the drunken physician in his home town. It is Leora Tozer who makes Martin's life extraordinary. With vitality and love, she urges him beyond the confines of the mundane to risk answering his true calling as a scientist and researcher. Not even her tragic death can extinguish her spirit or her impact on Martin's life. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Artistically, Arrowsmith is an authentic step forward. The novel is full of passages of a quite noble felicity and the old skill in presenting character through dialogue never fails. --The New York Times Book Review --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530868
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jesse Kornbluth on January 17, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sinclair Lewis is the bookend to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Both were born in Minnesota. Fitzgerald went to Princeton, Lewis to Yale. Both wrote their best books in the 1920s. Both drank, had women trouble, and turned bitter.

But Fitzgerald is everyone's favorite author --- even the high school kids who are clueless about metaphors swoon over "The Great Gatsby." You need an appreciation of satire to love Lewis; nobody does, and he goes unread.

It's understandable. What would you rather read --- a romantic tale about a poor boy's rise and violent death on the glittering shores of Long Island (Gatsby) or a withering take on narrow-minded life in the midwest (Main Street)? Who's more interesting --- a criminal who went to Oxford (Jay Gatsby) or a blowhard whose ambition is total conformity to soul-deadening values (George Babbitt)?

And yet. If you ask who describes America better, the more necessary writer is Sinclair Lewis. Main Street and Babbitt made his name, and most readers stop there. They shouldn't --- my wife, who once attended a one-room schoolhouse in Minnesota --- recently read "Main Street," and found it a very close description of life in our chic Manhattan neighborhood. Dodsworth --- later made into a toweringly great movie --- is as fine a love story as Fitzgerald ever dreamed up, and a lot more realistic one, at that. It Can't Happen Here is a powerful political drama with a subject that's not as far-fetched as you might think: how fascism comes to America.

And then there's Arrowsmith, which has an actual hero. Set in the midwest, it doesn't lack for satire; as Lewis depicts it, happiness in a small town seems to havbe the shelf life of about a year.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I'm giving Arrowsmith five stars because I read it many years ago and, like most of Sinclair Lewis's work, it is great. My criticism is of the Kindle version. In the preface we are told that some of the text has been rewritten because of "anachronisms that might jar the modern ear," or something like that. I immediately clicked off Arrowsmith; I'll find the hard copy. I'd like to ask whoever made this unwise decision: don't you think that someone who is taking the time to read a book written in 1925 might WANT to have their ears jarred? Are you also rewriting Dickens and Shakespeare? I want to read the words of one of the masters, not the words of someone who thinks that he or she knows how a legendary author would write in 2011.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Sinclair Lewis had some exposure to the medical profession early in his life through his father, who was a country doctor. Yet, even with some personal exposure, it's amazing how much of the idealism and cynicism, evident in modern physician practice, Lewis portrays in his 1926 pulitizer prize winning book, "Arrowsmith". Martin Arrowsmith, M.D. is a fictional idealist who is a human being before all else, but trying to bring science to the practice of Medicine. Actually, the story seems almost autobiographical due to the personal intensity and human fraility of the complex main character. As a registered nurse, reading Arrowsmith brings flashbacks of the past, like the cliches "deja vu all over again", or worse, "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Medicine for financial- profit, patient care challenges, personality conflicts, political shenanigans, professional competition, and overutilization of medical technology are some of the common problems Arrowsmith faces as he pursues a career in medicine after barely struggling through the politics of medical school in the mythical town of Wheatsylvania, Midwest, USA, in the early 20th century. This is not another novel about how physicians affect people's lives, but a masterpiece about the nuances of the medical profession as mysterious and suspect,of physicians who are heros and villans. Most surprising are the humerous vignettes sprinkled throughout the plot like bits and pieces of old Jack Benny radio show skits.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Lewis also won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of Martin Arrowsmith, a medical researcher who, while attending a mid-western medical school, is influenced by an aged bacteriologist. Arrowsmith marries a nurse, who will encourage his career in research, and tries his hand at private practice. However, he fails in that endeavor. After a number of positions he joins a research institute in New York where he discovers a new microorganism but is "scooped." He travels to the West Indies to try his "bacteriophage" on an epidemic. After his wife and colleague die, he starts administering the serum indiscriminately, destroying the results of his experiment. He returns to New York and marries a rich widow. However, social life interferes with his research and his search for truth. He quits the Institute and establishes a lab in Vermont with Terry Wickett, an uncouth but conscientious chemist. The model for Terry Wickett was Dr. John Howard Northrup (1891-1987), who will later win the 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Apparently, the model for Martin Arrowsmith was provided by the microbiologist and writer Paul de Kruif, whose book "Microbe Hunters" became very popular. The novel also contrasts the idealism of the research scientist, who unfortunately looses touch with those that care for him, and the apparent avarice of the medical profession.
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