Sally Satel. Basic, $27 (256p) ISBN 0-465-07182-1

Yale psychiatrist Satel takes a hard, clinical look at how political correctness has infiltrated the world of medicine and finds that instead of providing the best care available, "injecting social justice into the mission of medicine diverts attention and resources from the effort to find ways of making everyone, regardless of race or sex, better off." By no means does she "defend the status quo," claims Satel-she recognizes that the history of American medicine is not untarnished (e.g., the shameful 1932-1972 Tuskegee syphilis study). But she believes that though there may be problems-"one of the most pressing [being] how to deliver health care to everyone affordably"-sexism and racism are not the ugly, systemic issues that the "indoctrinologists" claim them to be. (These indoctrinologists, she says, are found in the academy, whose researchers may produce "second-rate clinical studies"; at the medical journals that publish those studies; in the media, which blows the studies out of proportion; and among politicians who use them as campaign material.) Writing confidently, incisively and even-handedly, Satel aims to debunk many prominent medical studies that have been used to demonstrate that people who suffer from psychoses have been abused by the psychiatric establishment, that American women's health has long been ignored and that promoting the idea of individual responsibility among the disadvantaged (encouraging the poor to take advantage of free health care or people at risk for AIDS to practice safe sex and use clean needles) is prejudicial. General readers will be surprised to find many of their long-held beliefs about American health care turned inside out, but Satel provides cogent arguments that deserve the careful consideration of anyone who believes that better, more affordable health care is obtainable and that politically correct reform is not the way to achieve it. (Jan. 1)