The author's ambiguity also translates in other ways; indeed whether through indecisiveness or concern for impartiality [John Farley] lets some doubts persist that lead to vague interpretations and sometimes give the impression of a dreamy, impractical man with wooly ideas on such issues as poverty, family planning, peace, social services and medical coverage. That opponents during the Cold War might have thought this and used it against him may be understandable, but that another Canadian author should even today think that [George Brock Chisholm] was "a bit of a second rater" and that there was "mieux" (his italics) is untenable.1 Yes, like most people, Chisholm had his weaknesses and idiosyncrasies and he did not hold a masters in public health, but he knew how to surround himself with the best experts of the time and had confidence in youth. His directors of finance and publications were both aged 38 when appointed, and I recall when he officiated at our medical graduation, his passionate message was: "safeguard your youthful vision and work health into social justice." And as his objective was the public's health rather than traditional public health, his being from outside the club should be seen as an advantage, as indeed it proved to be.
Humanities fewer than 40 years to make this leap. For example, we learn about the effects victory over childhood disease and pre- Developing countries are transitioning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa mature mortality. However, not all even more rapidly. To put it another way, and the implications for both grandpar- countries nor all people age equally the developed regions first got rich, they ents and grandchildren of the “missing well. And certainly, the poor grow old then got old. In the developing regions, it generation” of people between the ages less salubriously and happily. This is exactly the opposite — with unknown, of 20 and 40. The chapter on China book offers much information and food but likely sobering implications. deals with, among other things, the de- for thought as we continue along life’s The authors also assess countries mographic effect of the low fertility journey — both as individuals as well that are enjoying high rates of policies of the current government. as citizens of our aging planet. longevity, such as Denmark, France The book concludes with an exami- and the United States. Comparatively nation of research and program leaders, A. Mark Clarfield MD speaking, Canada isn’t doing too badly, whose work ranges from biology to the Department of Geriatrics, Soroka but can certainly learn from the experi- effect of the new longevity on retire- Hospital ences of these others. ment security — an issue of no little im- Ben Gurion University of the Negev Another section of essays examines portance given the recent economic Beer-Sheva, Israel the challenges for countries facing rapid downturn. population aging in the next 20 to 30 All in all, the aging of populations Dr. Clarfield is the international affairs years. Chapters on Africa, China, Latin across the globe should be considered a editor of the Journal of the American America offer interesting perspectives. great leap forward, reflecting a rousing Geriatrics Society. Chisholm, WHO and the pursuit of the public’s health Brock Chisholm, the World Health leader, the politics of the organization, Organization, and the Cold War and the postwar competition of ideolo- John Farley gies that soon turned into bitter animos- UBC Press; 2008. 254 pp $85.00 ity, considerably detracting from the ob- jectives, performance and efficacy of the organization. W hether by coincidence or by This book will be of interest to design, 4 remarkable books medical historians, health planners and that express the ideal of social scientists and is a vast depository peace through health, the goal of the of documentation for Canadian polito- World Health Organization, were pub- logues, students of health policy and in- lished in 2008, coinciding with WHO’s ternational administrators. 60th anniversary. And to this Canadian The author begins with an account of reviewer the fact that all their authors Chisholm’s life, from a young, decorated and editors happen to be Canadian is Ontario soldier to physician, psychiatrist, an expression not of chauvinism, but major-general, deputy minister of health of legitimate pride. at the federal level, representative to the Cri
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