Eric D. Carter succeeds with this ambitious history of social medicine in Latin America. Over seven chapters, plus an introduction and conclusion, we become reacquainted with characters who have animated institutions and debates with local and global reach, including Carlos Enrique Paz Soldán, Eduardo Cruz-Coke, Salvador Allende, Juan Lazarte, and Josué de Castro. The story, however, is not so much powered by the people whom it features as by the coherence found in social medicine as an intellectual and social movement across the region.

Signature traits of the social medicine approach—its focus on structural drivers of health and illness, its multidisciplinary disposition, its penchant for political action—acquire fresh relevance when readers consider how social medicine could operate in Latin America's inequitable postcolonial societies. For starters, social medicine has punched well above its weight throughout the twentieth century. Despite it being driven by a minority of practitioners, its sway has been...

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