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July 9, 1982

Biocultural Aspects of Disease

JAMA. 1982;248(2):238. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330020074037

In their effort to present a balanced and comprehensive view of the "biocultural" aspects of disease, the editors of this book have taken on an enormously difficult task, for at least three reasons. The subject itself is, of course, very broad. The contemporary organization of academia tends to keep anthropologists and geneticists far from the mainstream of clinical medicine and epidemiology. The concept of race, which is at the heart of this book, is controversial on all levels—scientific, social, and political. By taking on fundamental issues, however, and attempting to combine a broad range of social sciences, they have produced a most interesting book. For students of the social aspects of public health, it will prove provocative in its theoretical discussion and rich in detail about several important ethnic groups. But interest is in the mind of the reader, and certainly this book is not for everyone; the clinician may