Briefs: Book Beat

Briefs: Book Beat

We asked local physicians for their health-related book recommendations. Here’s what they said.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

“Both heartbreaking and warming, it’s about a boy with a mind differently functioning than most (likely related to the autism spectrum but never explicitly stated). This short novel contains rousing mysteries while providing the best insights and understanding into minds that function differently from the ‘norm’ that I have ever encountered. It’s an exploration of diverse thinking and its value to society — if only we are sensitive to it.” — Daniel E. Appelbaum, MD, professor of radiology and director of nuclear medicine, UChicago Medicine

The Great Influenza

by John M. Barry

“It’s the story of the Spanish flu, the three waves in the spring and fall of 1918 and spring of 1919, with obvious implications for the coronavirus pandemic we face today. More importantly, the pandemic occurred during a time of significant public distrust of the media, and this erosion of trust had a major negative impact on the course of the 1918 pandemic. Again, implications and lessons for today.” — Eric Chehab, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Illinois Bone & Joint Institute

Medical Apartheid

by Harriet A. Washington

“This book details the long history of medical atrocities and experimentation on African Americans from slavery to present. Notable physicians, scientific institutions, and, in some cases, the U.S. government were involved in inhumane experimentation and exploitation of Black Americans in the name of science. This book dives well beyond the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Philosopher George Santayana famously said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ I believe this to be a book every U.S. physician should read. This is a part of our medical history, and we all should be very familiar with it.” — Fenwa Milhouse, MD, urologist, DuPage Medical Group

Cover Images Courtesy Of Viking/Penguin Random House. Originally published in the Fall 2020/Winter 2021 print issue.