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A Family of Doctors


In this poignant, deeply moving book, Dr. David Hellerstein traces five generations of American medicine -- from the Civil War to the present day -- as seen through the eyes of his unforgettable family.

From Publishers Weekly
In a briskly flowing narrative, psychiatrist, essayist and novelist Hellerstein ( Battles of Life and Death ) records the accomplishments since the Civil War of 13 doctors in five generations of his Midwestern Jewish family. The family tree includes an EKG pioneer and the author's own father, mother, brothers and two sisters, each in a different specialty. In lively portraits and anecdotes culled from family attic archives, Hellerstein describes early, more primitive, medical procedures together with his ancestors' romances, scandals and travels, including a moving account of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp witnessed by his father during military service. While citing modern medical advances, Hellerstein deplores today's diminished professional dedication and the advent of high costs, impersonal care and bureaucracy in medicine. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
As Hellerstein ( Battles of Life and Death , LJ 5/1/86, and Loving Touches , LJ 2/1/87) recounts his family history--the story of five generations of physicians--it evolves into something larger: a chronicle of the changes in medicine from the 19th century to the present as seen through the experiences of his family. His narrative begins with Marcus Rosenwasser in 1864 and ends with the medical career choices of four of Hellerstein's siblings, who confront the dilemmas and opportunities of contemporary medicine. Along the way, Hellerstein presents much medical and social history, encompassing the dramatic technological and educational metamorphoses that transformed the practice of medicine from a craft to the medical science of today. Recommended.
- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York