African Folk Medicine: Practices and Beliefs of the Bambara and Other Peoples

by P. J. Imperato. xvii + 236 pages, illustrated. York Press, Inc., 101 East 32nd Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218. 1977. $16.00

Rodney C. Jung 3600 Chestnut Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

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This is a remarkable book—remarkable in that so much information is compressed into such a small volume and in that it is written not by a professional anthropologist but by a public health physician. It has been my impression that social anthropologists tend towards verbosity compounded by the use of an argot intelligible to few outside of the profession. Perhaps it is because Dr. Imperato thinks and expresses himself as a public health physician that there is relatively so much kernel and so little chaff in this work. Readers whose habits of thought and expression are similar may fail to grasp the whole significance of what is written by and for sociologists, in contrast with this book.

The book is the result of a gifted individual being placed in a favorable situation. Dr. Imperato's assignment in Mali by the United States Public Health Service to organize and direct a smallpox eradication and measles control program and to develop mobile health services took him into every part of the country, where he collaborated with infirmiers (nurses) who were well known and respected by the populace.