[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 9, 1976

Simple & Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1976;235(6):655. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260320061034

Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage, by William and Mary Morris, 650 pp, $15, New York, Harper & Row, 1975.

A large proportion of physicians like to write, but most of them do it badly. Two new books may help them to improve. Jacques Barzun, historian and critic, well known not only as a scholar but as a fluent and pleasing writer, has had vast experience in editing and improving the works of students and friends. Now he shares his expertise with the reader. The book centers around the respect for words—that they should be properly chosen, properly joined, properly reflected upon. Barzun takes up his subject in a pleasantly systematic form, with didactic principles, many examples, and some exercises. The sad part about all such books on writing is that those who need them most are least likely to use them. This book is for those who deliberately want to