April 1977

A Wind in Africa: A Story of Modern Medicine in Mali

Author Affiliations

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Rochester Medical Center 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester, NY 14642


by Pascal James Imperato, 363 pp, 49 illus, $12.50, Warren H. Green, Inc, 1975.

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(4):479. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120170105026

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A Wind in Africa has become a controversial book. Is its author egoistic, racist, and anti-African? By describing America's humanitarian measles control and smallpox eradication program, is the book intended as a counterweight to our unsavory involvement in Viet Nam? Well, from the viewpoint of a physician who spent two years in West Africa (the locale of this book), the answer to all these questions is a qualified "no." Dr Imperato, then head of the Agency for International Development measles and smallpox program, now with the New York City Health Department, has written a harsh but accurate and entertaining view of the life and times of an American physician in Mali. His descriptions of American embassy wives and expatriots of all nationalities and of providing "bush" medical care, bargaining for art work, traveling the "roads," and dealing with African servants have the unmistakable ring of authenticity. Dr Imperato describes the

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