John F. Murray is the author of Intensive Care: A Doctorå?s Journal. (October 2008)

The Patient Talks Back

Sarah Manguso, a poet, and the author of The Two Kinds of Decay, says that her memoir “is a usual book about illness. Someone gets sick, someone gets well.” People feel a need to talk or write about their illnesses, and most of us read these accounts with close attention.

Will to Live

Few of us lose a parent without regret and some self-reproach, some sense of things undone or injustices unredressed; it is a natural component of grief. The literature of memoirs by children of their parents, from Father and Son to Mommie Dearest—whether by Edmund Gosse or John Stuart Mill, Sean …

AIDS Without End

The first reactions of many doctors, researchers, and patients to the report of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic by retired Admiral James D. Watkins, Chairman, were to admire, with some surprise, the humanity and acuity with which he addressed the AIDS epidemic. These qualities are unusual …