Politics, as Usual?

In her review of "The Health of Nations" (The Book Review, Dec. 20), Susan George tells us that the author, Leonard A. Sagan, ". . . ignores some of the biggest life expectancy stories of the century," and asks, "Is it because they carry a political message?" She goes on to detail achievements in China and Nicaragua and failures in India and the United States.

George's review deserves an identical rebuke. Recently, both the scholarly and popular media have revealed the remarkable decline in life expectancy in the Soviet Union, a phenomenon never before seen in an industrial society. Surely, the organization of the Soviet health care system plays some role in this unprecedented event. Did the reviewer refrain from relating these facts to readers because ". . . they carry a political message"?


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