The best doctor books

8 authors have picked their favorite books about doctors and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Bomb And Its Deadly Shadow: A Memoir

The Bomb And Its Deadly Shadow: A Memoir

By Dean Warren,

Why this book?

The author of this book was a Crossroads participant. Furthermore, the author’s father, Dr. Stafford L. Warren, was head of the Medical Section of the Manhattan Project; then headed up the postwar survey of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and was then appointed by the Navy to serve as Chief Radsafe (Radiologic Safety Section) at Crossroads. Mr. Dean Warren and I had several phone conversations before his passing and shared our respective health problems that may — or may not — have been caused by exposure to ionizing radiation at Crossroads.

From the list:

The best books on the first postwar atomic bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll in 1946 (Operations Crossroads)

Book cover of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

By Rachel Naomi Remen,

Why this book?

Remen is a doctor and gifted storyteller. She shares insight into what truly heals, through these magical-yet-true vignettes. Spoiler alert: love and connection. Yes, there are times we desperately need modern medicine and other times when we desperately need our hands to be held.
From the list:

The best books for self care and motivation

Book cover of Teach Resilience: Raising Kids Who Can Launch

Teach Resilience: Raising Kids Who Can Launch

By Deborah Gilboa, MD,

Why this book?

Dealing with disappointment and rejection is part of growing up. But our kids also face unique challenges and social stressors that did not exist when we were their age. That’s why it can be hard to give them the kind of help they really need in those moments when they feel particularly vulnerable. Dr. G, a family physician, international speaker and mom of four boys, has written a book to help us help our kids in compassionate and practical ways. Her goal ought to be a top parenting goal for everyone: Teach kids resilience – i.e., the ability to…

From the list:

The best books for helping kids become themselves

Book cover of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

By Izzeldin Abuelaish,

Why this book?

I heard Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speak at the Auckland Writer’s Festival some years back now. The auditorium was packed, yet you could hear a pin drop, so moved was the audience by this man’s profound humanity. A dedicated physician who, despite having suffered personal tragedy in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has not allowed hatred or revenge to corrode his life. He continues to work tirelessly for peace and resolution in the troubled Gaza region and is a beacon of hope for all mankind. 

From the list:

The best books about the human capacity to rise above prejudice

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

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

By Victoria Sweet,

Why this book?

This book offers a glimpse into the world of medicine and healthcare and how it has changed over the years. The kind of slow, careful, full examination and extended care that Dr. Sweet (author) was introduced to at Laguna Honda Hospital (the last almshouse in the US) shows the importance of whole body, indeed, whole system, care. I deeply appreciate the references to the work of Hildegard von Bingen of the 12th century who was a Benedictian abbess, philosopher, and medical writer and practitioner, and how Dr. Sweet implemented ancient care and philosophies into modern practices.
From the list:

The best books on love through deathcare

Book cover of The Physician

The Physician

By Noah Gordon,

Why this book?

The Physician was one of the most exceptional books I have read on the middle ages. I love historical fiction, and I was sucked into this book from page one. Noah takes us through the life of Rob J, a young boy who teams up with a barber-surgeon during the 11th century. For someone who is well-schooled on this time in history, I can honestly say that this book was on point with every historical fact. Please read this book. You won’t be sorry.

From the list:

The best books on the middle ages for those with an odd fascination for filth and torture

Book cover of The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger

By Sarah Waters,

Why this book?

I love this story of a country house and its family in decline, haunted by the creepy presence of the little stranger. The doctor whose mother once worked as a maid at Hundreds Hall does his best to support the eccentric family as the disturbances threaten to overwhelm them. In doing so, he becomes an increasingly intimate part of the mystery. 

From the list:

The best ghost mystery stories

Book cover of The Coroner's Lunch

The Coroner's Lunch

By Colin Cotterill,

Why this book?

Colin Cotterill wrote a series of whodunits set in the late 70s newly formed the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, featuring 72-year-old Dr. Siri Paiboun who is appointed coroner by the communist government and sets out to solve crimes that uncover unpleasant truths about the country’s communist utopia. In this first novel, Paiboun investigates the death of a politician’s wife that soon turns into a murder inquiry, but the real joy of this story lies in the challenges the intrepid septuagenarian investigator faces that emerge as a consequence of communist rule. Quirky, gentle, and full of insights of a country…

From the list:

The best books about Laos and the CIA's covert war there

Book cover of Lady of Milkweed Manor

Lady of Milkweed Manor

By Julie Klassen,

Why this book?

I’m a sucker for a book that pulls at my heartstrings. A woman finds herself pregnant during an unforgiving time. She’s sent to a home so it can all be kept a secret, here she meets other women in similar situations. This book made the plight of these women real as they struggle to make peace with what’s happened, as they give birth and say goodbye or get creative and find ways to stay in their children’s lives. 

As a mother to both biological children and foster children, I am often drawn to the stories of mothers and this one…

From the list:

The best historical romance novels that will transport you in time and leave you with a happy sigh

Book cover of Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America's Doctor

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America's Doctor

By Kate Messner, Alexandra Bye (illustrator),

Why this book?

This picture book biography does so many things at once—and does it all with a masterful, lyrical storytelling voice. Of course, the primary thing this book does is tell the story of a real person’s life: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In this story, we learn about his ordinary childhood, his personal interests, and the ways his family inspired and encouraged him. It shows that even people we see on the news were once children, just like the kids reading this book. More than that, this book is a celebration of…

From the list:

The best books for kids about COVID-19

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