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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Hand of God

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 11 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6450
  1. Trevor Stammers, programme director in bioethics and medical law, St Mary’s University College, London
  1. tgstammers{at}

The Hand of God is a classic but not because of its beautiful writing. The prose is often painful, and even the author acknowledges his rambling style, with comments like, “But I’m getting ahead of myself.” Some classic novels transport us into other worlds or times: this book deals with the current reality of industrialised abortion. Other classics depend on the author’s fame, but though Bernard Nathanson’s infamy merited a whole page obituary in the BMJ, I doubt if he will ever crop up in a pub quiz (BMJ 2011;342:d1358, doi:10.1136/bmj.d1358).

This book’s classic status stems from the author’s uniqueness in two different ways. …

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