Chronicling the rigors of a professional education--from law to medicine--is hardly new, but Black displays a deft touch and a keen eye in exploring one year in the life of a doctor-to-be. Black tracks the progress of Aaron Kenigsberg as he enters his third year of medical school, when students learn by example in a hospital rather than just by textbook, classroom lecture or laboratory work. Whether by luck or by design, Black has profiled a young man whose father and an older brother chose medicine. That invites interesting perspectives on the evolution of medical education, the increasing role of technology, and motivations for practicing. The author has a good feeling for medicine's rites of passage--the long, grueling and pressure-packed hours spent in the hospital, the gallows humor that accompanies students' baptism to pain, suffering and death. Most importantly, Black carefully observes how Aaron adjusts to his clinical training. He shows how Aaron develops a ""professional manner""--certain body language that helps him deal with a patient without unnecessarily alarming that patient about a serious condition. And he notes how Aaron's growing confidence is reflected in his bedside manner: ""At the beginning of his surgery clerkship, he tended to stand at the front of the bed when visiting a patient; now he stood at the head.""Neither Black nor anyone else can top Donald Drake's 1978 standard, Medical School, which dramatically followed students from different backgrounds through four years of training. But Black provides an observant and well-written microcosm of the reed-school process.