100 books like Medical Apartheid

By Harriet A. Washington,

Here are 100 books that Medical Apartheid fans have personally recommended if you like Medical Apartheid. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Bad Blood

Allen M. Hornblum Author Of Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America

From my list on human experimentation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began working in prisons 50 years ago. I was just out of grad school and I accepted the challenge of starting a literacy program in the Philadelphia Prison System. The shock of cellblock life was eye-opening, but the most unexpected revelation was the sight of scores of inmates wrapped in bandages and medical tape. Unknown to the general public, the three city prisons had become a lucrative appendage of the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School. As I would discover years later, thousands of imprisoned Philadelphians had been used in a cross-section of unethical and dangerous scientific studies running the gamut from simple hair dye and athlete’s foot trials to radioactive isotope, dioxin, and US Army chemical warfare studies. My account of the prison experiments, Acres of Skin, helped instill in me an abiding faith in well-researched journalism as an antidote to societal indiscretions and crimes.

Allen's book list on human experimentation

Allen M. Hornblum Why did Allen love this book?

This in-depth account of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study is considered a classic in the field of medical ethics. Though Greg Dober and I have recently discovered the true origins of the Public Health Service’s “non-treatment study” and former Surgeon General Thomas Parran’s critical role in the ugly saga, Jones’s book is still the best chronicle available, and lays out a devastating narrative of how a sophisticated but uncaring and racist scientific establishment could annually examine and not treat hundreds of unschooled Alabama sharecroppers suffering from a deadly disease. 

By James H. Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bad Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From 1932 to 1972, the United States Public Health Service conducted a non-therapeutic experiment involving over 400 black male sharecroppers infected with syphilis. The Tuskegee Study had nothing to do with treatment. It purpose was to trace the spontaneous evolution of the disease in order to learn how syphilis affected black subjects. The men were not told they had syphilis; they were not warned about what the disease might do to them; and, with the exception of a smattering of medication during the first few months, they were not given health care. Instead of the powerful drugs they required, they…


Book cover of The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War

Allen M. Hornblum Author Of Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America

From my list on human experimentation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began working in prisons 50 years ago. I was just out of grad school and I accepted the challenge of starting a literacy program in the Philadelphia Prison System. The shock of cellblock life was eye-opening, but the most unexpected revelation was the sight of scores of inmates wrapped in bandages and medical tape. Unknown to the general public, the three city prisons had become a lucrative appendage of the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School. As I would discover years later, thousands of imprisoned Philadelphians had been used in a cross-section of unethical and dangerous scientific studies running the gamut from simple hair dye and athlete’s foot trials to radioactive isotope, dioxin, and US Army chemical warfare studies. My account of the prison experiments, Acres of Skin, helped instill in me an abiding faith in well-researched journalism as an antidote to societal indiscretions and crimes.

Allen's book list on human experimentation

Allen M. Hornblum Why did Allen love this book?

Welsome investigates a particularly repugnant episode in medical history; doctors secretly injecting hospital patients with plutonium as part of the Manhattan Project. Designed to weigh the increased threat of cancer during the outset of the atomic era, the book navigates the governmental and scientific concerns of a new nuclear world, the prestigious players who argued for human experimentation, and the unwitting victims - all hospital patients - who’d be used as test material. In addition, Welsome also explores other Cold War examples of atomic abuse such as “radioactive cocktails” given to pregnant women and radioactive breakfast cereal given to five and six-year-old “morons” at state institutions. 

By Eileen Welsome,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Plutonium Files as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a Massachusetts school, seventy-three disabled children were spoon fed radioactive isotopes along with their morning oatmeal....In an upstate New York hospital, an eighteen-year-old woman, believing she was being treated for a pituitary disorder, was injected with plutonium by Manhattan Project doctors....At a Tennessee prenatal clinic, 829 pregnant women were served "vitamin cocktails"--in truth, drinks containing radioactive iron--as part of their prenatal treatmen....

In 1945, the seismic power of atomic energy was already well known to researchers, but the effects of radiation on human beings were not. Fearful that plutonium would cause a cancer epidemic among workers, Manhattan Project doctors…


Book cover of Strangers at the Bedside: A History of How Law and Bioethics Transformed Medical Decision Making

Allen M. Hornblum Author Of Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America

From my list on human experimentation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began working in prisons 50 years ago. I was just out of grad school and I accepted the challenge of starting a literacy program in the Philadelphia Prison System. The shock of cellblock life was eye-opening, but the most unexpected revelation was the sight of scores of inmates wrapped in bandages and medical tape. Unknown to the general public, the three city prisons had become a lucrative appendage of the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School. As I would discover years later, thousands of imprisoned Philadelphians had been used in a cross-section of unethical and dangerous scientific studies running the gamut from simple hair dye and athlete’s foot trials to radioactive isotope, dioxin, and US Army chemical warfare studies. My account of the prison experiments, Acres of Skin, helped instill in me an abiding faith in well-researched journalism as an antidote to societal indiscretions and crimes.

Allen's book list on human experimentation

Allen M. Hornblum Why did Allen love this book?

Rothman was one of the first to examine the culture of research medicine and its relationship to science and American culture at large. Doctors on the cutting edge of new procedures, much desired medical elixirs, and scientific advancement used a utilitarian calculus to determine what was ethical and what the public was willing to accept. Scientific breakthroughs were celebrated with few - certainly no one of renown - taking notice that the breakthroughs were coming at the expense of vulnerable, powerless populations.

By David J. Rothman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strangers at the Bedside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Rothman gives us a brilliant, finely etched study of medical practice today. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the practice of medicine in the United States underwent a most remarkable--and thoroughly controversial--transformation. The discretion that the profession once enjoyed has been increasingly circumscribed, and now an almost bewildering number of parties and procedures participate in medical decision making.

Well into the post-World War II period, decisions at the bedside were the almost exclusive concern of the individual physician, even when they raised fundamental ethical and social issues. It was mainly doctors who wrote and read about the morality of withholding a…


Book cover of Experimentation with Human Beings: The Authority of the Investigator, Subject, Professions, and State in the Human Experimentation Process

Allen M. Hornblum Author Of Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America

From my list on human experimentation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began working in prisons 50 years ago. I was just out of grad school and I accepted the challenge of starting a literacy program in the Philadelphia Prison System. The shock of cellblock life was eye-opening, but the most unexpected revelation was the sight of scores of inmates wrapped in bandages and medical tape. Unknown to the general public, the three city prisons had become a lucrative appendage of the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School. As I would discover years later, thousands of imprisoned Philadelphians had been used in a cross-section of unethical and dangerous scientific studies running the gamut from simple hair dye and athlete’s foot trials to radioactive isotope, dioxin, and US Army chemical warfare studies. My account of the prison experiments, Acres of Skin, helped instill in me an abiding faith in well-researched journalism as an antidote to societal indiscretions and crimes.

Allen's book list on human experimentation

Allen M. Hornblum Why did Allen love this book?

Known only to true devotees of medical ethics and the history of human research, Jay Katz’s hefty volume (1,150 pages) is a comprehensive encyclopedia of humans used as research material. Information-packed chapters cover everything from Chester Southam’s use of senile hospital patients in cancer cell injection studies during the 1960s, and the legal fallout from such indiscretions, to the ethical obligations of researchers, and the evolution of informed consent as a pillar of ethical human research. Impressive in both detail and scope, this imposing piece of scholarship is a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn the many moral and legal issues inherent in experimenting on humans. 

By Jay Katz, Alexander Morgan, Eleanor Swift Glass

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Experimentation with Human Beings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In recent years, increasing concern has been voiced about the nature and extent of human experimentation and its impact on the investigator, subject, science, and society. This casebook represents the first attempt to provide comprehensive materials for studying the human experimentation process. Through case studies from medicine, biology, psychology, sociology, and law―as well as evaluative materials from many other disciplines―Dr. Katz examines the problems raised by human experimentation from the vantage points of each of its major participants―investigator, subject, professions, and state. He analyzes what kinds of authority should be delegated to these participants in the formulation, administration, and review…


Book cover of The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello

Sonia Frontera Author Of Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve

From my list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sonia Frontera is a divorce lawyer with a heart. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage who is now happily remarried. Sonia integrates the wisdom acquired through her personal journey, her professional experience and the lessons of the world’s leading transformational teachers and translates it into guidance that is insightful and practical. Through the years, Sonia has supported domestic violence survivors as an advocate, speaker, and empowerment trainer.

Sonia's book list on freeing you from the pain of a toxic relationship

Sonia Frontera Why did Sonia love this book?

I am a self-help junkie and have read a ridiculous amount of books about relationships. But if I had to pick one, this would be it. This little book reveals the secret to peace in your relationships… and it’s not what you think. Anthony de Mello teaches that love is found only in fearlessness and freedom. He provides a simple formula for releasing the angst caused by unhealthy attachments to our partners, so we can feel joyful and complete in their company or on our own. Anthony de Mello’s wisdom has been instrumental in my personal healing and provided the foundation for my own teachings. 

By Anthony De Mello,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Way to Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the international bestselling author of Awareness, a pocket-sized guide that will bring you to new levels of spiritual awareness.

The Way To Love contains the final flowering of Anthony de Mello's thought, and  in it he grapples with the ultimate question of  love. In thirty-one meditations, he implores his  readers with his usual pithiness to break through  illusion, the great obstacle to love. "Love  springs from awareness," de Mello insists, saying  that it is only when we see others as they are  that we can begin to really love. But not only must  we seek to see others with…


Book cover of Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death

Anne-Marie Keppel Author Of Death Nesting: Ancient & Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care

From my list on love through deathcare.

Why am I passionate about this?

To care for the dying is not only strenuous physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but it is a challenge in self-care and a constant call to remain non-judgmental. As someone who struggled financially as a single mother for many years, I discovered that compassion and empathy were needed not only for my children but also myself—indeed self-love was at the core of all. Working with the elderly in residential care, in hospice, and with individuals and families I now teach community deathcare with an edge of social activism to help the vulnerable feel safe while living and while dying.

Anne-Marie's book list on love through deathcare

Anne-Marie Keppel Why did Anne-Marie love this book?

This book rattled and awakened me in a place that seemed taboo to tickle. Studying death and dying can be driven by ego (what are you going to wear at your funeral? Do you have your music picked out?) Not to say there is not some good in the ego-driven work-- contemplating that can be done no matter what angle you study. However, Being With Dying cuts to the chase. If you feel ready to dismantle your illusion of living forever (or, if think that you’ll only die on your own terms, but only when you’re ready) this book is for you. 

By Joan Halifax,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Being with Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Buddhist teacher draws from her years of experience in caring for the dying to provide inspiring lessons on how to face death with courage and compassion
 
The Buddhist approach to death can be of great benefit to people of all backgrounds—as has been demonstrated by Joan Halifax’s decades of work with the dying and their caregivers. A Zen priest and a world-renowned pioneer in care of the dying, Halifax has helped countless people face death with courage and trained caregivers in compassioante end-of-life care.

In this book, Halifax offers lessons from dying people and caregivers, as well as guided…


Book cover of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

Anne-Marie Keppel Author Of Death Nesting: Ancient & Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care

From my list on love through deathcare.

Why am I passionate about this?

To care for the dying is not only strenuous physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but it is a challenge in self-care and a constant call to remain non-judgmental. As someone who struggled financially as a single mother for many years, I discovered that compassion and empathy were needed not only for my children but also myself—indeed self-love was at the core of all. Working with the elderly in residential care, in hospice, and with individuals and families I now teach community deathcare with an edge of social activism to help the vulnerable feel safe while living and while dying.

Anne-Marie's book list on love through deathcare

Anne-Marie Keppel Why did Anne-Marie love this book?

When I first started studying death and dying, I was shown a lot of educational books on “good deaths” and there was a lot of talk about the “death positive” movement. I trained in a program to become a death doula and Home Funeral Guide so I could serve the dying and dead, and I trained to become a Celebrant so I could help the family through the final disposition. My death education was all about me. It was this book that awakened me to the us, the community, the part where we incorporate and live life alongside death as a community and the okay-ness of not knowing and not controlling absolutely everything—all of the places where we are ruptured as a society. This is a primer for all studies on death and dying.

By Stephen Jenkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Die Wise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Die Wise does not offer seven steps for coping with death. It does not suggest ways to make dying easier. It pours no honey to make the medicine go down. Instead, with lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Die Wise is for those who will fail…


Book cover of God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine

Kay White Drew Author Of Stress Test: A Memoir

From my list on women physicians about their own healing.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a woman physician who struggled with depression, the words “Physician, heal thyself” have particular resonance for me. In my own quest for healing, I’ve explored alternative modalities like acupuncture and reiki, as well as conventional psychotherapy. I’m always interested in reading about other women who faced the ever-present sexism of medicine, as well as those who dealt with mental health challenges and traumatic events before and during their medical training. I want to know what the factors were that helped them and healed them. Therapy? Other healing modalities? Mentors, friends, lovers? Finding a loving life partner? We all have so much to learn from each other. 

Kay's book list on women physicians about their own healing

Kay White Drew Why did Kay love this book?

This thoughtful, well-written memoir of a medical doctor and historian reminded me of why we doctors practice medicine.

The story of her years at Laguna Honda, a long-term rehabilitation hospital for indigent patients, presented me with a kind of medical practice as different as possible from the intensive care I myself practiced: Slow Medicine, which promotes close observation and deep listening, just sitting together, allowing time to do at least some of the healing. Laguna Honda was a place of hospitality, community, and charity.

I take comfort in knowing that there is still a place for these values in today’s highly fragmented, technologized, and speeded-up “healthcare system.” I was particularly moved by Sweet’s reflectiveness and vibrant humanity as she allowed “God’s Hotel” to heal her even as it—and she—healed her patients. 

By Victoria Sweet,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked God's Hotel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Victoria Sweet's new book, SLOW MEDICINE, is on sale now!

For readers of Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, a medical “page-turner” that traces one doctor’s “remarkable journey to the essence of medicine” (The San Francisco Chronicle). 

San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God’s hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves—“anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times” and needed extended medical care—ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed…


Book cover of Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die: Bioethics and the Transformation of Health Care in America

Jacob M. Appel Author Of Who Says You're Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned

From my list on challenging ethical dilemmas in modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a physician and attorney, I’ve always been fascinated by the nexus where my two professions meet.   During the course of my career, I have been asked to advise colleagues on topics as far-reaching as whether a death row inmate should receive an organ transplant to how to offer psychotherapy ethically to a conjoined twin. Although questions like these do not arise every day, even the everyday questions in my field – on such topics as confidentiality, boundaries, and informed consent – never grow old.

Jacob's book list on challenging ethical dilemmas in modern medicine

Jacob M. Appel Why did Jacob love this book?

By far the best survey of medical ethics on the market today, Moreno and Gutmann bring to life the most challenging issues in bioethics with both rigor and eloquence. This is the ideal book for a newcomer to the subject who wants to learn how current ethical principles evolved and how they are applied in a range of areas from organ donation to end-of-life decision-making.

By Amy Gutmann, Jonathan D. Moreno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening look at the inevitable moral choices that come along with tremendous medical progress, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die is a primer for all Americans to talk more honestly about health care. Beginning in the 1950s when doctors still paid house calls but regularly withheld the truth from their patients, Amy Gutmann and Jonathan D. Moreno explore an unprecedented revolution in health care and explain the problem with Americans wanting everything that medical science has to offer without debating its merits and its limits. The result: Americans today pay far more for health…


Book cover of Rights Come to Mind

Jacob M. Appel Author Of Who Says You're Dead? Medical & Ethical Dilemmas for the Curious & Concerned

From my list on challenging ethical dilemmas in modern medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a physician and attorney, I’ve always been fascinated by the nexus where my two professions meet.   During the course of my career, I have been asked to advise colleagues on topics as far-reaching as whether a death row inmate should receive an organ transplant to how to offer psychotherapy ethically to a conjoined twin. Although questions like these do not arise every day, even the everyday questions in my field – on such topics as confidentiality, boundaries, and informed consent – never grow old.

Jacob's book list on challenging ethical dilemmas in modern medicine

Jacob M. Appel Why did Jacob love this book?

Fins combines personal narratives of patients he has encountered who have suffered severe neurological injuries with data from the field of neurology to explore the complex question of what it means to be in a persistent vegetative state—as well as one’s prognosis for recovery. A deeply compassionate volume that will make readers question what they believe about comas, death, and the gray area in between. 

By Joseph J. Fins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rights Come to Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through the sobering story of Maggie Worthen and her mother, Nancy, this book tells of one family's struggle with severe brain injury and how developments in neuroscience call for a reconsideration of what society owes patients at the edge of consciousness. Drawing upon over fifty in-depth family interviews, the history of severe brain injury from Quinlan to Schiavo, and his participation in landmark clinical trials, such as the first use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state, Joseph J. Fins captures the paradox of medical and societal neglect even as advances in neuroscience suggest new ways to mend…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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