March 6, 1991

In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester

University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester


by John Stone, 213 pp, $11.95, ISBN 0385-30169-3, New York, NY, Délacorte Press, 1990.

JAMA. 1991;265(9):1184. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460090134050

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


John Stone, poet-physician (or should I say physician-poet), is well known in the literary world for his three published volumes of poetry. What is less widely known is that Stone is also an accomplished clinician, a cardiologist and emergency specialist. His most recent work, In the Country of Hearts:Journeys in the Art of Medicine, draws on this extensive clinical experience. In so doing, Stone joins a select cadre of literary doctors who both wrote and practiced medicine. Other members who belong in this club are Anton Chekhov, William Carlos Williams, Richard Selzer, and Robert Coles, to mention but a few. Like his literary-medical predecessors, Stone explores the physician's intellectual and emotional response to a variety of clinical situations. He describes inpatient and ambulatory patient encounters with considerable skill and local color in a series of short vignettes with accompanying editorial comments. A young girl with coarctation of the aorta