Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Category: Books & Reviews

  • Depression in Little Miss Sunshine

    Emily AtashkariDublin, Ireland The 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine1 follows the dysfunctional Hoover family as they journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Redondo Beach, California, in their old Volkswagen van to bring seven-year-old Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. One member of the Hoover family is Frank, who has recently attempted suicide. Frank…

  • Book review: Pathogenesis: How Germs Made History

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK I do not use superlatives lightly, but this is an extraordinary book. It is ambitious in scope and seeks to describe the progress of humanity from earliest times with an emphasis on the role of infectious diseases in our cultural, economic, political, and scientific development. Drawing from disciplines as diverse as…

  • Book review: The Guru, the Bagman and the Sceptic: A story of science, sex and psychoanalysis

    Robert Kaplan Sydney, Australia   Sigmund Freud (lower left, seated) and his “Committee,” including Ernest Jones (far right, standing). Becker & Maass, Berlin. Library of Congress, Marsh Agency/Sigmund Freud Copyrights. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. As a cultural icon of the twentieth century, psychoanalysis has loomed large in the public imagination. What makes it unique is…

  • Book review: My Years with the British Red Cross

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The Red Cross is known worldwide as a great humanitarian achievement. The charity was founded by Swiss businessman Henri Dunant, who was moved by the lack of care available to people who had been wounded in the Battle of Solferino, Italy, in 1859. His idea was to produce national societies…

  • Book review: The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Life is short, and the art long; the occasion fleeting, experience fallacious, and judgment difficult.”– Hippocrates The Soul of Medicine is a slender (200-page) book by surgeon-author Sherwin B. Nuland. It contains twenty-one essays, each one based on a “tale” told to Nuland by either a medical student (one), or by physicians…

  • Book review: A History of Women in Medicine and Medical Research

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK Research and writing on women’s contributions to science and medicine are needed and welcome. Books about science and medical advances have often concentrated primarily on men’s achievements and have a distinctly Western bias. This new book on the history of women in medicine and medical research is a superb addition to…

  • Making radiation visible: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Godzilla

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “The theme of the film, from the beginning, was the terror of the bomb.”1– Tomoyuki Tanaka, producer of Gojira (Godzilla) The Third Reich surrendered to the Allies in early May 1945. This did not yet end World War Two, as the forces of Imperial Japan still occupied much of Asia and the…

  • Book review: The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden Its title might seem frivolous, but this book is serious, and the problems Rose George describes are a matter of life and death. Her take on the disposal of human waste is clearly detailed in her introduction. She avoids euphemism and favors clarity. Forty percent of the world’s population has no access…

  • Book review: The Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK Classical antiquity has long been a subject of human fascination. The time period covered in this book ranges from around 1000 BCE to 650 CE. The editors have produced an encyclopedic volume of essays from scholars worldwide, resulting in a comprehensive source of information about the history of science and medicine…

  • Movie review: Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Medicine is power. It makes us giants.”– Dr. Daniele Valotti in Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca (1973) is an understated, well-acted, and critical “doctor movie.” Unlike The Hospital, it is not a black comedy of errors, and unlike Where Does It Hurt? it is not a broad, obvious satire.…