Prescribing Faith: Medicine, Media, and Religion in American Culture

Claire Hoertz Badaracco, Author . Baylor Univ. $29.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-932792-89-8

The medical quackery of yore is commonly thought to be over. Sure, doctors may have prescribed mercury, arsenic and bloodletting in the 19th century, and they may not have washed their hands between examinations of cadavers and deliveries of babies, but aren't we more advanced now? Badaracco, professor of communications at Marquette, thinks not. The current symbiosis between medicine and media is the rival of any sort of Victorian-era medical malpractice. Big Pharm is the most profitable sector of the stock market, and pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development. Badaracco shows that media, religion and medicine have been intertwined throughout American history, often producing spectacular innovations in marketing, a mess of broken bodies in medicine and frequent religious reactions against mainstream medicine, like Christian Science and the rise of popularity for Eastern religions. She writes with panache and passion enough to ask unsettling questions: if prayer works , should it be required in hospitals by insurers? And if it works, might it also carry risk ? And why is the media so keen to serve as the mouthpiece for every scare tactic and miracle drug that comes down the pike? (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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