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In a much gentler approach than the title would imply, Bausell (senior research methodologist, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore) takes on the emotional, science-resistant topic of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with cold logic and a sense of humor, drawing on his expertise in constructing and evaluating clinical trials. He briefly traces the history of CAM, introduces the placebo effect, then lays out in some detail the pitfalls faced by even the most conscientious researchers in producing valid, unbiased trials. After a more detailed look at the placebo effect, he lists and analyzes as many "high-quality" trials of CAM therapies as he can identify. The result is what he sees as a clear verdict that any positive results for CAM to this point have been owing to the placebo effect. Bausell's casual writing style and dry wit produce a lively but scientifically sound, well-documented work that objective readers should find informative. A good companion to Robert Park's Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud, it is highly recommended for public and medical libraries.