In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS Incurable Physician: An Autobiography. By Walter C. Alvarez. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1963. Pp. xiii-r-274. $4.95. This is the story ofa nearly eighty-year-old man still in the prime oflife, and still, fortunately, partly a rebel. It is a remarkable story because it is a remarkable man who wrote it. Remarkable in the sense that long before research was a respected and soughtafterprofession , he was doing it. Furthermore, he wascombining itwidianactivepractice ofmedicine. He did this at a time when it was not very respectable to do both. Accordingly , by some he was not considered very respectable. He spent his childhood in Hawaii, attended medical school in San Francsico, practiced in a mining camp in northern Mexico and later in San Francisco, and then went to thé Mayo Clinic. A fortunate trip to Boston to meet with Walter Cannon seems to have in large measure determined his lifelong research activities in the field ofintestinal gradients and gastroenterology. Let me say right offthat the book makes altogether delightful reading. Filled with anecdotes, touches ofphilosophy and anall-pervading sense ofliveliness and good humor, the book cannot fail to give somediing of value to each of us. It is much more than entertaining. Walter Alvarez' life has represented something important in the scheme of things. He, among a few others, put medical practice and research into juxtaposition and succeeded against many odds in keeping them there. Life was not always easy for such people, as he found out. He had great affection for that great organization, the Mayo Clinic. As in all big organizations, there are the little, uncertain men who crave power merely to stand still. Perhaps Alvarez' unfailing and ready forgiveness of those who sinned against him did not make him its most popular member. Dr. Will Mayo, whom he deeply revered, told him to develop a thick hide. This, ofcourse, he did not do because the thickness ofone's hideis controlled bythe genes, not the cortex.It is a curious factthat sensitive, perceptive, warm, and affectionate people who lpve others often find themselves rejected by others who seem instinctively to fear this potential source ofpower over them. Walter Alvarez was a pioneer in developing knowledge of food sensitivity. He had one himself, which helped impress him with its importance. He described the syndrome of"little strokes" and clarified the mechanism ofthe pain ofabdominal crisis. As ifthb were not enough, he has an extraordinary ability to communicate. The result has been many books and papers ranging in subject matter from the gastrointestinal tract to psy367 choneurosb. This led him later in life to the writing ofhb nation-wide daily newspaper column, which has made him a household name and a source of great comfort to the American public because he understands people. Here b the autobiography ofa wonderful man who has devoted himselfto mankind with zest, kindness, and humor. Hb outgoing personality seemed at times almost to lead him to disaster, but never actually did. Hb life should be a great inspiration for those youngsters who are willing to pay the price ofsingularity. Perhaps the most important attribute ofan autobiography b to be honest with yourself. He has been. Irvine H. Page, M.D. Cleveland Clinic Man and His Future. Edited by Gordon Wolstenholme. London: J. and A. Churchill, Ltd., 1963. Pp. v+410. 255. Thb Ciba Foundation volume b the report ofa symposium on "Man and His Future" attended by some thirty biologbts from both sides of tke Atlantic. It contains sixteen papers together with the relevant discussions. The introductory paper, on "The Future ofMan—Evolutionary Aspects," b fittingly presented by SirJulian Huxley, and the last paper, on the "Biological Possibilities for the Human Species in the Next Ten Thousand Years," b given byJ. B. S. Haldane with typical imagination and provocation. Between the contributions of these two stalwarts of social biological thinking, with their long perspectives ofthe history, present, and future ofmankind, are six discussions ofmore restricted scope. Agricultural productivity and diet in relation to world population and human health are discussed by Colin Clark andJohn F. Brock. Clark presents the Catholic view that the sky's the limit and the...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 367-368
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.