The Social Transformation of American Medicine

The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry


By Paul Starr

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$31.00 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback (Revised) $25.00 $31.00 CAD
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 30, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

“A monumental achievement” (New York Times) and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in American History, this is a landmark history of the American health care system.
Considered the definitive history of the American health care system, The Social Transformation of American Medicine examines how the roles of doctors, hospitals, health plans, and government programs have evolved over the last two and a half centuries. How did the financially insecure medical profession of the nineteenth century become a prosperous one in the twentieth? Why was national health insurance blocked? And why are corporate institutions taking over our medical system today? Beginning in 1760 and coming up to the present day, renowned sociologist Paul Starr traces the decline of professional sovereignty in medicine, the political struggles over health care, and the rise of a corporate system.
Updated with a new preface and an epilogue analyzing developments since the early 1980s, The Social Transformation of American Medicine is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of our fraught health care system.
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  • "The definitive social history of the medical profession in America....A monumental achievement."
    New York Times Book Review
  • "Superb sociology, superior history--and essential reading for anyone interested in the fate of American medicine."
  • "The most ambitious and important analysis of American medicine to appear in over a decade.... If you read only one book about American medicine, this is the one you should read."
    Ronald Numbers, author of The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism

On Sale
May 30, 2017
Page Count
592 pages
Basic Books

Paul Starr

About the Author

Paul Starr is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and holds the Stuart Chair in Communications and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. A multiple prize-winning author of several books and the cofounder and coeditor of The American Prospect, Starr lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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