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Book and Media Reviews
August 13, 2008

War and Public Health

JAMA. 2008;300(6):732-733. doi:10.1001/jama.300.6.732

Often a second edition of a book is not worthy of special note or review. However, War and Public Health is an exception. The ideas and cases presented a decade ago were equally relevant, but inclusion of recent world events makes this second edition all the more useful, timely, and important.

I was drawn to this book because of the editors' reputations as leaders for generations of individuals wanting to be involved in improving the health of others in the world. Levy and Sidel could have written this book themselves, but they chose to edit a volume including the writings of many other major leaders in a variety of fields and disciplines, creating a chorus rather than a duo of strong voices. They have orchestrated a coherent volume with a disciplined approach to uniformity in certain aspects of the presentations (short, boxed, punchy points or stories; chapters with clear overviews, descriptions, and conclusions), yet varied the voices, perspectives, and contributors to produce a nuanced, fascinating, and compelling whole. As with any great piece of music, it is best appreciated by experiencing it in its entirety but with the opportunity to go back to relish specific sections for deeper understanding and insight.

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