BOOKS

 

Meanderings in New Jersey’s Medical History

In some respect, each of this collection of essays pertains to New Jersey's medical history. Although each chapter stands alone and may differ in style and tone, together they provide a narrative history of medical practice from pre-Colonical times almost to the present. The narrative depicts a kaleidoscope of medical personalities - some heroic, others distinctly not.

 

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Available in entirety through MHSNJ

 

 

More Meanderings in Medical History

These essays about various unrelated medical history subjects were composed over some three decades; some written recently, others published in my previous books. The title word "meandering" suggests randomness, but should not be mistaken for pointlessness for each vignette was prompted by something which at the time seemed relevant to my professional or personal life. The emphasis is on narrative history, stories of physicians at different times and places, for as my famous namesake Professor Allan Nevins once wrote, "history should be enjoyed, not endured."

 

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More Meanderings in Medical History

These essays about various unrelated medical history subjects were composed over some three decades; some written recently, others published in my previous books. The title word "meandering" suggests randomness, but should not be mistaken for pointlessness for each vignette was prompted by something which at the time seemed relevant to my professional or personal life. The emphasis is on narrative history, stories of physicians at different times and places, for as my famous namesake Professor Allan Nevins once wrote, "history should be enjoyed, not endured."

 

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Still More Meanderings in Medical History

As with the previous two books in this trilogy of "meanderings" the current collection contains essays about medical practice and the lives of various physicians at different times and places.

 

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Michael Nevins Meanderings in Medical History
Meanderings in Medical History Book 4

Book Four in the series Meanderings in Medical History contains seventeen essays about various subjects pertaining to medical history. Each vignette was prompted by something that was relevant to my professional or personal experience. The emphasis is on narrative history, stories of physicians at different times and places. As historian Allan Nevins (no relation) once wrote, “History should be enjoyed, not endured.”

 

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Jewish Medicine: What It Is and Why It Matters

Although conventional wisdom holds that there's no such thing as "Jewish Medicine," Dr. Nevins disagrees, suggesting it's not so much what Jewish doctors have done as why. For example, in premodern times Jewish doctors viewed their work as a sacred calling in collaboration with God. Later, there often was a perception that Jewish doctors practiced differently because they were familiar with mystical and magical techniques. While many Jewish physicians through the ages have been inspired by such values as selflessness, compassion and profound respect for life itself, contemporary medicine seems to have lost its soul. To rectify this, Dr. Nevins proposes the Jewish cultural icon the "mensch" as a model of virtuous behavior for all doctors to emulate. This book is written for a general audience as well as for physicians. In it Dr. Nevins surveys Jewish medical history and, along the way, describes many remarkable "medical menschen."

 

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Abraham Flexner: A Flawed American Icon

When Abraham Flexner died in 1959 at age 92, a New York Times obituary declared, "no other American of his time contributed more to the welfare of his country and of humanity in general." Flexner's famous Report in 1910 and his subsequent work at the Rockefeller Foundation helped transform American medical education from crude to world leader. Later, as founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study he attracted Albert Einstein and other luminaries to Princeton. Notwithstanding these achievements, Flexner was hypercritical of others, often abrasive, and his self-assurance irritated many of his colleagues to his detriment. Moreover, he was an intellectual elitist who, like many of his generation, either denied or ignored certain moral hazards prevalent in America during his lifetime, including eugenics theory and institutional anti-Semitism. In this critical analysis, Dr. Nevins distinguishes between Flexner the progressive reformer and the humanly-flawed man himself.

 

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A Tale of Two “Villages”: Vineland and Skillman, New Jersey
The unknown story of New Jersey's major role in promoting eugenics theory which indirectly led ... Americans and to mass murder in Nazi Germany.

Early in the 20th century New Jersey was one of the first states to segregate mentally ill patients in state- run institutions. Administrators and scientists at the Vineland Training School and Skillman Village for Epileptics did research which validated the theory that "feeblemindedness" was inherited, untreatable and associated with anti- social behavior. A statute passed in 1911 that permitted involuntary sterilizations of people with chronic mental disorders and epilepsy was overturned two years later by the state's Supreme Court. Nevertheless, New Jersey eugenicists continued to promote similar legislation in the misguided belief that they were benefiting society. The American example was used to justify racist policies initiated in Nazi Germany where what began with coerced sterilizations of the "unfit" evolved to "mercy killing" and then to genocide. Although forced sterilizations were not performed in New Jersey, in other states more than 65,000 Americans were sterilized against their will. Perhaps this "Tale of Two Villages" will provide an object lesson about how well- meaning but flawed science could become politicized, perverted and lead to shameful outcomes. "I read the entire book in one sitting - that's how transfixed I was by this amazing and fascinating story." - Sherwin Nuland, MD. Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine. Author, historian and bioethicist. "I read this book with astonishment, outrage and incredulity. It displays a fine balance between objective reporting and moral indignation. We all need to be educated about history - warts and all!" - Andre Ungar, emeritus rabbi. Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley.

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Early Physicians of Northeastern Bergen County

A narrative history of medical practice and practitioners in northern Bergen County between the late 17th and early 20th centuries.

 

Out of print; may be available from on-line used book sellers

Bergen Pines: A Remembrance of Things Past

A nostalgic review of this county institution’s evolution from its opening as an Isolation Hospital in 1916 to its transformation to Bergen Regional Medical Center in 1998.

 

Out of print; may be available from on-line used book sellers

The Jewish Doctor: A Narrative History

Throughout history, the Jewish doctor has been a universally admired figure. His fortune varied according to the times and, in earlier centuries, he appeared to be more innovative in his survival techniques than in his original contribution to medical progress. The Jewish Doctor: A Narrative History focuses on medical practitioners in the context of their time, their work, exploits and discoveries, and the relationships they shared with their patients and communities.

 

Out of print; may be available from on-line used book sellers

Case Reports: Short Stories About Jewish Doctors

Twenty-five essays about Jewish physicians at different times and places. Among the titles: Bronx Boys, “The Apostle of Bathing”, Fleas and Lice, Brain Drain from Ukraine, “Doctor Esperanto”, Non-Jewish “Jewish” Nobelists.

 

Out of print; may be available from on-line used book sellers

Jewish Medical Roots
Continuing the exploration of earlier books of how the fact that they were Jewish influenced the personal and professional lives of physicians from earliest times to the present. Dr. Nevins uses narrative to tell social history and draws extensively on his subject's own words to explain their stories from a Jewish perspective.
 
Out of print; may be available from on-line used book sellers
Dubrowa: Memorial to a Shtetl

In many ways Dubrowa was an ordinary Jewish village or shtetl. A home to Jews for centuries, during its heyday it was part of Russia, situated just west of the provincial capital Grodno. During the late 19th century emigration to the West began to take its toll. After World War I, the area shifted to Polish control. The Holocaust ended Jewish life in Dubrowa, but in this memorial book, Michael Nevins reconstructs and commemorates the shtetl's history for a new generation.

 

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© 2014 Michael Nevins, MD