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least nationally) available by telephone or by videotape. Education of the public to these changes is considered and deemed to Ix- plausible. Who will program and maintain the computer and teach the Medics? Both authors challenge the medical professions to be more efficient tcchnicalh and with regard to informational relations with the public. Rouf.kt W. ViRTtiF, M. D. 727 Birch Sheet Denver, Colorado 80220 MortalLessons. By Richard Selzer. New York: Simon Sc Schuster, 1076. Pp. L' 19. $8.95. Doctors who scribe are all too uncommon, and uncommoner still is the gifted scribe who makes a living at surgery. These two worlds, literarv and chirurgical, converge in a crafty and winsome volume of essays by Richard Selzer. By probing through layers ofcold, corporeal fact, Selzer manages to reach sublime levels of rhetorical wisdom. Ever the exuberant wordsmith, he writes with a quaintness ofspeech which sometimes threatens to become ponderous Yet such eloquence is what makes Mortal Lessons ultimately so engaging. We observe how the author and his subject have grown attached, knife to heart. Whether describing the onset of rigor mortis or the first throb of puerile infatuation, Selzer employs the same ornate vocabulary with facility and precision. He conjures lively tales from bones, bowels, bladders, blades, cadavers. He marches us to death's drumbeat through a vanquished corpse. His compelling little essay on abortion is a tour de force. Vignettes from his life as a Doctor's Kid expose the secret sources of his energy and spirit. All these Mortal Lessons are meant for those willing to enter the world within the surgeon's grasp. Richard Selzer persuades us that surgen is not so much skill but, rather, a well nigh priestly vocation. Rf.v. David A. Rijf.iii.kk 406 Second Avenue West Haven, Connecticut 06516 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine ¦ Winter 1978 315 ...


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