February 1, 1985

Socio-Medical Inquiries: Recollections, Reflections, and Reconsiderations

Author Affiliations

State University of New York Stony Brook


by Irving Kenneth Zola, 349 pp, $29.95, paper $10.95, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1983.

JAMA. 1985;253(5):695. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350290101043

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This is a fine book—a must for sociologists and physicians alike, and for everyone who deals with issues of health and disease. It is persuasive in its claim that the medical profession, along with everyone else, has ignored social relations and feelings, yes, the very essence of being human. In our attempt to save lives and reduce suffering, we have ignored the elements that are difficult to deal with, such as interpersonal relationships on all levels, and have concentrated on technical aspects of illness, because those are the ones we can more easily handle.

This book includes papers written during the last two decades. But it is far from being a simple collection of articles. The focus of the author's intellectual life is put in evidence by his own experiences. To mention only two, he had polio at age 12 years and was in a car accident four years later,