M.D.: One Doctor's Adventures among the Famous and Infamous from the Jungles of Panama to a Park Avenue Practice

by B. H. Kean with Tracy Dahlby. xii + 402 pages. Ballantine Books, New York. 1990. $19.95

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  • Department of Microbiology, City College of New York, Medical School, New York, New York 10031

I hate to tell people that I am a parasitologist because I always get the same responses. Most often the person I'm talking to changes the subject, since he probably has no idea of the functions of a parasitologist. The second most common response is, “It must be really fascinating to study ESP.” Sometimes, the person has had a stool examination at one time, and thinks that parasitologists spend all their time looking at feces. These people usually ask me what made me decide to choose such an “interesting” career. I used to have trouble answering this question. Well, not anymore. Now I simply tell them to read Ben Kean's book.

I count myself among the 5,000 or so Cornell Medical School students who have heard Kean lecture on parasitology. Some teachers of parasitology give dense, detailed lectures about life cycles, epidemiology, symptomatology, and control. Not Ben Kean. He tells stories.

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