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The book is written for members of the medical profession and for interested laymen. The bibliography indicates that the author has read widely in the popular, mystical and philosophical literature of our times but not too much in the fields of economics, political science, sociology and logic. He notes that in the past the position of medicine was defensive, since it had to be content with the work of conquering diseases. Now that medicine has found methods to cure or control many diseases it is able to consider taking the offensive in a twofold activity: (1) "development of medicine in relation to social life" and (2) "the influencing of social activities in the interests of human well-being."
In the first part of the book the author defines society as the association of human beings for common defense against the hazards of life and for the exploitation of natural resources in
An Approach to Social Medicine. JAMA. 1947;135(6):394. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890060074030