Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Books and Reviews

  • A Silent Voice: A case study of suicidality

    Ryan XiaSan Francisco, California, United States During the COVID-19 pandemic, deaths from suicide surged as social isolation disrupted daily routine and promoted feelings of loneliness and anxiety.1 The pandemic shed light on risk factors that increase one’s likelihood of committing suicide,2 such as the loss of a loved one or the loneliness of being isolated…

  • Book review: Life Unseen: A Story of Blindness

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom In her new book, Selina Mills, an award-winning journalist who is legally blind, takes us on a journey through the cultural history of visual impairment and blindness. It is both informative and empowering, weaving together research and the author’s personal experience. Throughout time, loss of sight has been associated with…

  • Book review: Sir Thomas Browne: The Opium of Time

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK Sir William Osler was a great admirer of Sir Thomas Browne’s 1643 Religio Medici, one of his favorite books and on his recommended reading list for medical men. Browne influenced many writers, such as Samuel Johnson, WG Sebald, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Conrad, and EM Forster. In this slim volume, Gavin…

  • Book review: Fighting for Life: The Twelve Battles That Made Our NHS, and the Struggle for Its Future

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) was born on July 5, 1948, and on the seventy-fifth anniversary of its existence, British journalist and broadcaster Isabel Hardman has produced a book using military analogies to focus on the many political battles and political contests that have shaped its current form. The…

  • Polluting puberty, monstrous menstruation, and fatal femininity

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “[If] men could menstruate…menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event.”1– Gloria Steinem, journalist and political activist Ancient history has shown us that men sometimes looked upon women’s menstrual periods with perplexity, wonder, and fear.2 While it has been suggested that some men have “vagina envy” and “womb envy,” and feel left…

  • 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: 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: 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.…