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"The dream of reason did not take power into account"—so begins this Pulitzer Prizewinning portrait of the development of the U.S. health-care system. Paul Starr, a sociology and public-affairs professor at Princeton University, tells the story in two parts. First, the rise of the medical profession through the 19th and early 20th centuries is shown to hinge on an unprecedented "cultural authority" derived from the legitimacy of science. It was this authority that enabled doctors to build a prosperous profession and to shape the medical system. In the second half of the book, Starr focuses on the ways in which for-profit corporations, such as insurance companies and hospitals, challenged the medical authority of doctors in the later decades of the 20th century, producing the health-care system—much criticized yet much envied—that the U.S. has today. - 8 Oct 2008 - The Wall Street Journal Europe - By Stephanie Snow - Just What the Doctor Ordered - 5 best books on Medicine 

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