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May 9, 1990

Medical Work in America: Essays on Health Care

Author Affiliations

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

JAMA. 1990;263(18):2520-2521. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440180132050

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Those immediately attracted to this book will be medical sociologists and behavioral scientists. Eliot Freidson, as David Mechanic notes on the book's back jacket, "is one of the most interesting and best known sociologists and his thinking continues to have applicability to current and impending issues." Add to this praise the advertising summaries describing this book as a "series of essays that includes some of his classic work as well as significant new material," (emphasis added) and you have a demand for a fresh and timely book on critical biomedical health care issues. The facts are that this book includes mostly already published works with some new material, making it less attractive to social and behavioral scientists after an initial reading.

Oddly enough, health care providers and educators perhaps can offer the best critique of this collection of well-known medical sociology essays. Although the language of medical sociology is unfamiliar