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September 24, 1973

The Power and the Frailty: The Future of Medicine and the Future of Man

JAMA. 1973;225(13):1660. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220410060021

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Hamburger's book is not just another complaint on the misapplication of modern man's power. He examines the astonishing new capabilities of modern medicine and the paradox of the persistence of human misery. He calls on the physician to lead the world to a "new morality"—the finding of a balance between freedom of the individual and the survival of society. Jean Hamburger is Professor of Medicine at the University of Paris—a man well known for his scientific accomplishments in nephrology. It is logical that he has chosen medicine as the science to illustrate his thesis and physicians as leaders in his new morality. The book is inspiring to read, the prose is clear, and the tone passionate.

Roughly half of the book discusses the strengths of medicine and problems of medical practice in terms that should be understandable to laymen as readily as to physicians. The first chapter describes recent medical