Views Medical Classics

The House of God

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:99
  1. Richard Smith, chief executive, UnitedHealth Europe

    Sex and death are all that matter, argues Philip Roth, perhaps the greatest living writer in English. The early years that doctors spend in hospital thus provide rich material, as the doctors are surrounded by death and obsessed by sex. The House of God by Samuel Shem is the most successful and literary of books describing the initiation of doctors and has sold over two million copies since it was published in 1978. Its bleakness, black humour, and brutishness paved the way for television programmes like Cardiac Arrest, Green Wing, and Bodies.

    The book …

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