The Pursuit of Perfection

The Promise and Perils of Medical Enchancement

By Sheila M. Rothman; David J. Rothman
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780679758358, 320pp.)

Publication Date: November 9, 2004

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What does it mean to live in a time when medical science can not only cure the human body but also reshape it? How should we as individuals and as a society respond to new drugs and genetic technologies? Sheila and David Rothman address these troubling questions with a singular blend of history and analysis, taking us behind the scenes to explain how scientific research, medical practice, drug company policies, and a quest for peak performance combine to exaggerate potential benefits and minimize risks. The Rothmans bring an authoritative clarity to a subject often obscured by rumor, commerce and inadequate reporting, revealing just what happens when physicians view patients’ unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their bodies–short stature, thunder thighs, aging–as though they were diseases to be treated.

About the Author
Sheila M. Rothman is professor of public health in the Division of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. Her books include "Woman's Proper Place: A History of Changing Ideals and Practices, 1870 to the Present", and "Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Experience of Illness in American History".

David J. Rothman is Bernard Schoenberg Professor of Social Medicine, professor of history, and director of the Center for the Study of Science and Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. He is the author of numerous works, including The Willowbrook Wars, The Discovery of the Asylum, and The Pursuit of Perfection: The Promise and Perils of Medical Enhancement.
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