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October 28, 1939

William Alanson White: The Autobiography of a Purpose

JAMA. 1939;113(18):1665. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800430057031

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This is a stimulating and inspiring book which succeeds in being true to its subtitle, "The Autobiography of a Purpose". It is written in the first person with engaging candor and frankness. The author has apparently succeeded in taking an objective attitude toward his life, his personality and his purpose. There is no egotism in it nor any self deprecation.

After a preface and introduction in which he gives his reasons for writing the book, he divides his material into three parts. In the first of these he deals with the origin and early expressions of his purpose in life, including chapters on his first fifteen years, his college life, medical school and internship, the beginning of his career in psychiatry at the New York State Hospital at Binghamton and the beginning of his work at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington. Part two deals with the building of St. Elizabeth's Hospital,

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