by Howard S. Berliner, 190 pp, $29.95, paper $12.95, New York, Tavistock Publications, 1985.
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Howard Berliner's A System of Scientific Medicine: Philanthropic Foundations in the Flexner Era is a book that should not be reviewed without being placed in its proper perspective. Since the 1970s, a number of books have substantially increased our knowledge and understanding of the history of medical education and of the relationship between the reform of medical education, the development of medical science, and the role of philanthropic foundations. The historian is well aware that "history" is not at all a science, although like a science new studies build on the earlier ones. Different historians using the same sources, however, often come to different conclusions.
Early works, such as this reviewer's American Medical Education: Formative Years, 1765-1910, described medical education before the Flexner report, and the role of the 1910 report to "reform" American medical education. In 1979, E. Richard Brown published a controversial study from a Marxist perspective, Rockefeller
Kaufman M. A System of Scientific Medicine: Philanthropic Foundations in the Flexner Era. JAMA. 1986;256(16):2268-2269. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380160126038