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February 8, 1985

Conversations in Medicine: The Story of Twentieth-Century American Medicine in the Words of Those Who Created It

JAMA. 1985;253(6):860-861. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350300164044

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Oral history, with its give and take of question and answer, may capture a flavor not otherwise obtainable. Personal interviews may conjure a background to enhance the appreciation of objective achievement. In this oral history project Weisse has interviewed 17 physicians, both men and women, who hold or have held various degrees of prominence in American medicine. The years of birth ranged from 1899 (William Dock) to 1922 (Robert Good). The list includes Owen Wangensteen, William P. Murphy, Charles P. Bailey, Louis Weinstein, Maxwell Wintrobe, and Arthur Kornberg, among others. Some had received the Nobel prize for their achievements. The interviews all took place between 1979 and 1983.

There are some excellent features. Young physicians who have no acquaintance with the past will gain an insight into the state of medical education, practice, and research for the first half of the 20th century. Physicians and laymen alike can gain a