KOOP by C. Everett Koop


The Memoirs of America's Family Doctor
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 ``Keep your head down and your mouth shut'' was advice given to the would-be Surgeon General early in his Washington days; fortunately, the high-profile and controversial Koop chose otherwise, both in his career and in these lively memoirs. The ``health conscience of America'' is how Koop says he'd like to be remembered--and he is that and much more: an innovative pediatric surgeon whose skills have altered thousands of lives, a man of scientific integrity whose tenure as Surgeon General alternately delighted and confounded both the right and the left, a Bible-reading evangelical Christian with a mission, and a bloody but unbowed veteran of eight years of Washington bureaucracy. His account of his early years, though pleasant enough, is unremarkable, but his writing moves into high gear when he talks about his years as a pediatric surgeon and the painful and prolonged process of becoming confirmed as Surgeon General. Koop recounts his battles with the powerful tobacco industry; his efforts to prod the Reagan Administration to take action in the war on AIDS and his subsequent attacks from the religious right on this same issue; his stand on the Baby Doe case and the rights of handicapped children; and, as expected, his opposition to abortion. Koop concludes with brief essays on what he considers major health issues of the day, such as health insurance, preventive health care, problems of aging, nutrition and food safety, drugs and alcohol, and domestic violence: Clearly much remains on his agenda. Good stories and honest opinions from an American original, who, though now stripped of his colorful vice admiral's uniform, is not about to fade away. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-57626-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991


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