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Books, Journals, New Media
September 23/30, 1998


Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


The Tao of Immunology: A Revolutionary New Understanding of Our Body's Defenses, by Marc Lappé, 317 pp, $27.95, ISBN 0-306-45626-5, New York, NY, Plenum Publishing Corp, 1997.

JAMA. 1998;280(12):1111-1112. doi:10.1001/jama.280.12.1111-JBK0923-3-1

To comment on Lappé's book The Tao of Immunology did not turn out to be an easy task. I had been informed by JAMA that this was a book for expert and layperson alike. Mixed feelings ensued. I suspect the book will eventually claim a large and perhaps enthusiastic audience, especially among the radical ecologists, but less so—I hope—among the more rational scientists. Just look at the front cover: it promises "revolutionary" thoughts, conveniently blended with ancient oriental wisdom—a popular mixture (remember The Tao of Physics?) and touching on medical subjects only too familiar to everyone today (AIDS, asthma, cancer, etc). The back cover, in turn, resounds in such acclaim— "dramatically original," "pragmatic, shocking and fascinating," "lucid and engrossing," "immensely knowledgeable"—from exponents of the scientific and thinking establishment: an intimidating and irresistible hors d'oeuvre for a book written with vehement elegance and loaded with curious (even bullfighting) metaphors.

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