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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bernard J. Turnock, MD, MPH (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This is an interesting and important analysis of policies that have shaped governmental roles in health in the U.S. during the 50-year period 1930-1980. The book is written by a single author who brings both a consistent and a transdisciplinary perspective to this task, resulting in an integrative analysis of where we are today and how we got here.
Purpose: This book seeks to fill the need for an examination of health policy that transcends any one discipline or methodological approach. This is the major strength of the book, and the history of governmental roles in public health and health services is effectively related to the political, social, and economic forces during these 50 years.
Audience: This book is intended for policy makers, stakeholders in the American health care system, students, and interested others.
Features: The features are not nearly as noteworthy as the content. Still, the presentation and use of data and information through charts and tables are quite effective. The table of contents and appearance are both formal and adequate. Annotations and references are plentiful and appropriate.
Assessment: This is an interesting and important work that addresses two questions often overlooked in discussions of governmental roles in health reform in the 1990s: where are we and how did we get here? This book is a very highly recommended addition to health science libraries and will become even more useful in the future as the current impetus behind major national reform wanes.