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Born in Lebanon, schooled in Brazil, and professionally active in the U.S., Dr. Assali is an obstetrician/gynecologist who developed a treatment for toxemia of pregnancy, and his autobiography, though flatly written, is inherently dramatic. He lived in a Lebanese prison camp, rebelled against the family mercantile tradition by going to medical school, and worked among legal prostitutes in Sao Paolo. Accompanying a dying relative to Chicago, he secured a position at the University of Cincinnati where pioneer work treating toxemia had begun. Later he moved on to UCLA and a string of professional achievements. Dr. Assali discusses 1950s theories and modes of treatment, and carefully explains how his research team took shape and functioned, devising equipment and refining techniques--a scene unfamiliar to most general readers and nicely illuminated here. Frequently he emerged as a medical maverick--exposing unnecessary surgical procedures, championing the promise of Medicare against AMA resistance--and once angry opponents attempted to have him deported. Dr. Assali never backed away from such confrontations, but he keeps his reviews of them in check and never lets them obscure discussions of his work. Aside from the stilted dialogue (""You can count on me to help you build one of the finest departments in the country""), this is a candid, fluent account of a gifted and enterprising researcher's career.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich