cover image Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice

Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice

Rupa Marya and Raj Patel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-0-374-60251-2

Physician Marya, cofounder of the Do No Harm Coalition, and University of Texas research professor Patel (The Value of Nothing) examine the social and environmental causes of ill health in this thought-provoking treatise. Taking eight bodily systems in turn, they explain the basic functions of each system and how nongenetic factors contribute to malfunctions. For example, the section on the immune system describes how “age-related diseases of chronic inflammation,” such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, have been linked to cellular damage caused by “stress, trauma, and environmental toxicity,” and why “historically oppressed groups,” such as Blacks and Indigenous Americans, had higher death rates from Covid-19. Turning to the respiratory system, Marya and Patel note that “working-class people are more likely to be exposed to higher levels of pollution and are more likely to have diseases driven by inflammation that makes that exposure more lethal.” In the book’s final section, they propose “deep medicine,” a holistic practice designed to personalize the relationship between the patient and healer while “resisting colonial cosmology,” as a means of healing illness and liberating individuals from the “prison” of oppressive systems. Though highly technical at times, this is a persuasive argument for the need to address the systemic problems that plague people’s minds and bodies. Agent: Kristine Dahl, ICM Partners. (Aug.)