August 18, 1989

Bag Balm and Duct Tape: Tales of a Vermont Doctor

Author Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine


by Beach Conger, 263 pp, $16.95, Boston, Mass, Little Brown & Co, 1988.

JAMA. 1989;262(7):959-960. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430070107045

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The public's appetite for stories about physicians seems endless. The themes are similar: "Doctors are real people too." In a book that follows suit, Dr Beach Conger shares his version of a medical career. He writes in the form of a professional diary that traces the metamorphosis of a native sophisticated New Yorker with scalpel and sharp pen and tongue into a kindly small-town Vermont family doctor whose patients teach him to practice the homey paternalistic brand of medicine of his elderly predecessor. The author states in the introduction that he believes the book will be read by both "sex fiends" and "serious readers," so he has annotated it throughout the text with sections of "Serious Reader Notes" to guide the serious readers, the sex fiends being left to "muddle along until they find what they are looking for."

He writes that he was a shy, socially unskilled child and