Erich Segal (1937-2010) began his writing career with the phenomenally successful Love Story. He wrote eight other novels, including The Class, which was an international bestseller and won literary prizes in France and Italy. Doctors reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Segal's academic focus included Green and Latin literature--subjects he taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford.
In his most skillfully written novel to date, Segal ( Love Story , The Class ) tackles a timeworn but engrossing theme: the grueling education of doctors, and the toll exacted by their careers. As Segal sees it, many physicians are ``wounded healers'' who know that ``to care is to crack'' in this brutally competitive, sometimes poorly self-policed profession. When childhood friends Barney Livingston and Laura Castellano enter Harvard Medical School in 1958, they are soon physically and emotionally overwhelmed by mountains of demanding coursework, a classmate's suicide and the vivisection of clumsily anesthetized dogs. Later, Barney, a Manhattan psychiatrist, witnesses the heartwrenching suffering of mental patients at Bellevue Hospital, including his tragically misdiagnosed former basketball coach. Pediatrician Laura is harshly penalized by tyrannical superiors who resent her complaints about their conduct. A medical-school classmate, brilliant black surgeon Bennett Landsmann, encounters racism within and beyond the medical establishment. Seth Lazarus, another class member, faces murder charges for a mercy killing. With his usual facility, Segal spins a highly readable story that addresses the gravest, most pressing issues facing doctors today. 250,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; author tour. (September)
"A superior story . . . A moving and compelling novel of doctors and their fears--how they confront them or are confounded by them."--UPI.
"Segal's best work to date."--New York Post