Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story.
O’Mahoney, the focus should be on how and
why rather than what we eat, and the goal
should be improved health rather than weight
loss. The authors begin by comparing doctors’
and patients’ complaints and challenges when
discussing issues of high weight. Doctors, they
claim, may be dealing with issues of weight
bias and can be frustrated with a patient’s
seeming noncompliance. Patients are often
oversensitive to lectures and shamed by their
failure to get control of their eating. Diets can
kill motivation, and self-care may be the key
to help “dysregulated” eaters, who eat when
not hungry or already full, to become normal
eaters. Each chapter lists specific strategies and
has occasional sidebars, called brain food, that
list open-ended questions for additional dis-
cussion. Although technically aimed at health
providers, these insightful suggestions will help
both patients and doctors to collaborate more
successfully on these issues. —Candace Smith
By Steven Hatch.
Mar. 2017. 320p. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250085139);
e-book (9781250085146). 614.5.
During the devastating Ebola outbreak in
2013 and 2014, Hatch, a doctor and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of
Massachusetts specializing in infectious disease,
also Liberia’s complicated history with America, it’s unique relationship with religion, and
how it managed to tackle Ebola in the wake of
a horrific civil war. That Hatch accomplishes all
of this in an outstandingly well-written, page-turning memoir in which he focuses far more
on the people he worked with and treated than
on his own feelings is nothing short of a literary miracle. Inferno educates, illuminates, and
rivets as Hatch rails against the political circumstances that allowed Ebola to flourish and aims
his flinty pen at the U.S. media’s condescending
determination to make a Liberian story more
about Western saviors than African victims.
This is a masterful work that deserves sharp notice—truly, a game changer that should share a
shelf with the works of Philip Gourevitch and
Adam Hochschild. —Colleen Mondor
YA/S: Any older teen interested in
studying international relations or
medicine will find Hatch’s incisive account
compelling and inspiring. CM.
Modern Death: How Medicine Changed
the End of Life.
By Haider Warraich.
Feb. 2017. 336p. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781250104588);
e-book (9781250104595). 616.02.
So often now, the price for prolonging life is
dying poorly—tethered to technology in anti-
The most involving, informative, and affecting health and medicine books reviewed in Booklist between December 1, 2015, and November 15, 2016, assess the efficacy of
medications and the impact of sugar, and look within to our
genes and microbiome and without to how society and medical institutions treat people in need and with mental illness.
Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at
America’s Most Storied Hospital. By David Oshinsky. 2016.
Doubleday, $30 (9780385523363).
Historian Oshinsky splendidly chronicles the nearly 300-year-
old Bellevue Hospital and its resolute commitment to serving
those in need, infusing his account with a history of American medicine.
Beyond Schizophrenia: Living and Working with a Serious Mental Illness. By Marjorie L.
Baldwin. 2016. Rowman & Littlefield, $36 (9781442248335).
A labor economist tells the story of her son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia
at age 21, and calls for better medical treatment and stable employment for adults living
with mental illness.
The Case against Sugar. By Gary Taubes. 2016. Knopf, $26.95 (9780307701640).
Best-selling Taubes indicts sugar as the primary cause for the Western world’s plagues
of diabetes and obesity, clearly presenting the scientific facts to make his case.
Entwined: Sisters and Secrets in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott. By Joyce Wallace
Scott. 2016. Beacon, $26.95 (9780807051405).
Registered nurse and poet Scott recounts the remarkable, often disturbing story
of her twin sister, Judy, who had Down syndrome and was mistreated at a “special
school” for 35 years.
The Gene: An Intimate History. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. 2016. Scribner, $30
Pulitzer-winning Mukherjee illuminates the many facets of the gene, covering a panorama of topics, from Mendel’s experiments to Darwin, eugenics, the Human Genome
Project, and cloning.
How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS. By
David France. 2016. Knopf, $30 (9780307700636).
Journalist and award-winning film documentarian France brilliantly chronicles AIDS in
America during the 1980s and ’90s, focusing on the real heroes of the epidemic, the
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life. By Ed Yong.
2016. Ecco, $27.99 (9780062368591).
Yong describes the dazzling menagerie of trillions of microorganisms—known as the
microbiome or microbiota—that exists within every human being.
Morgue: A Life in Death. By Vincent J. M. DiMaio and Ron Franscell. 2016. St. Martin’s,
Medical examiner DiMaio, along with journalist Franscell, provides a peek into the often
wild world of forensic science, sharing many hair-raising cases.
Ordinarily Well: The Case for Antidepressants. By Peter D. Kramer. 2016. Farrar, $26
Kramer mounts a comprehensive, spirited, and completely convincing defense of antidepressants, dispelling any doubts about their efficacy and life-changing capability.
A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer. By
Mary Elizabeth Williams. 2016. National Geographic, $26 (9781424616336).
Williams recounts her battle with stage-four melanoma as part of the clinical trial for an
immunotherapy drug that, lo and behold, makes her cancer vanish.
TOP 10 HEALTH & MEDICINE BOOKS