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July 3, 1996

Social Paediatrics

Author Affiliations

Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans, La


edited by Bengt Lindström and Nick Spencer, 614 pages, with illus, $135, ISBN 0-19-262179-3, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 1995.

JAMA. 1996;276(1):76. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540010078037

Social Paediatrics is a big, handsome, costly book from the Oxford University Press. It is not a textbook of pediatrics or even pediatric public health. "What Is Social Paediatrics and Where Does It Come From?" an entire chapter, provides a series of fuzzy definitions until, finally, the question is asked (but not answered): "Can we content ourselves with this statement by Robert Debré, 'Social paediatrics is not a discipline, it is a state of mind'?"

One gathers that the two editors, Bengt Lindström and Nick Spencer, have solicited a series of 35 essays on this "state of mind" from 35 authors. Some essays are written by more than one author, and some authors, including the editors, have shared in the preparation of more than one chapter. The emphasis is on studies and problems outside the United States.

Most of the chapters are extremely broad, eg, "Children and War," "Pollution and