This is the second in a series of blog posts that will list books recommended for medical students as a result my asking for suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. This second installment (the first installment can be read here) focuses on society, patient narratives, science, and culture.
In each case, I've linked the book title to its Powells.com listing...mainly because I didn't want to link to larger sites such as Amazon. In practice, I would strongly advise looking for these books at the library (to test them out--use this site to find the books at a library near you) or at your local independent bookstore (such as Chop Suey Books, in Richmond). Remember that if you're local bookseller doesn't carry these titles, they can probably order them for you--and they'll keep your money local.
Alternately, if you wish to support the authors directly, feel free to see if you can purchase the book you are interested in from the author's own website.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – Anne Fadiman
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic – Randy Shilts
A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry – David Kessler
Medicine and Human Welfare – Henry Sigerist
Guerrilla Warfare – Ernesto Guevara
28 Stories of AIDS in Africa – Stephanie Nolen
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Autobiography of a Face – Lucy Grealy
Nickle and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich
Wretched of the Earth – Frantz Fanon
Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Friere
Anything by Emily Martin: A good start might be Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
The Match: "Savior Siblings" and one Family's Battle to Heal Their Daughter – Beth Whitehouse
Medial Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present – Harriet Washington
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and how it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World – Steven Johnson
Mountains Beyond Mountains – Tracy Kidder
Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor – Perry Klass
As Nature Made Him: The Boy who was Raised as a Girl – John Colapinto
Anything by Richard Feynman: What Do You Care What Other People Think? Further Adventures of Curious Character seems a good start.
A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing – Reynolds Price
Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America – Laurie Kaye Abraham
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men – James Agee and Walker Evans
Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc – How the Working Poor Became Big Business – Gary Rivlin
Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child – Elva Treviño Hart
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
If you have read these books (or if you recommended them), please use the comments below to provide us with some thoughts on why the book mattered to you.