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May 14, 1997

War and Public Health

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Oliver Wendell Holmes Society Boston, Mass pepstein@igc.org

JAMA. 1997;277(18):1479-1480. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540420075034

From AIDS: Understanding Molecular Biology: Characterization of HIV Genome, by P. Z. Taussig, 75+ pp, with illus, ISBN 1-889167-01-0, Angleton, Tex, Doctor Press (drpress@mastnet.net; 409-848-2704), 1997 (story book with college level glossary). Reproduced by permission.


It is axiomatic that war involves killing. But war also leaves wounds, infections, and suffering lingering for years, poisoning relationships, psyches, soils, forests, and underground water systems. War and Public Health addresses all these issues in a handsomely crafted text, replete with photographs, tables, and charts, and delivers an overwhelming indictment of war and its devastating impact on populations and public health.

Beginning with a foreword by Jimmy Carter and stage-setting introductions by William Foege and the late James Grant, Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel have organized a tightly edited text, encompassing the civilian consequences of modern conflicts (90% of the deaths are now noncombatants) (Garfield and Neugut); the impacts of diverting