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Authors

Bruce Jennings

Abstract

Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint. By Lawrence O. Gostin. Berkeley: University of California Press, and New York: Milbank Memorial Fund, 2001. Pp. 491

Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader. Edited by Lawrence O. Gostin. Berkeley: University of California Press, and New York: Milbank Memorial Fund, 2002. Pp. 523.

A book review should not use clich& like tour de force, but I can't think of another phrase that does justice to the magnificent achievement of Lawrence Gostin in these two volumes. They belong on the shelf of every reader of this Journal and indeed of everyone whose work or interests touch on the law, ethics, healthcare, and public health policy and practice. When Public Health Law was published in 2000, it instantly became the standard-setting, comprehensive treatise on the subject. The appearance last year of Public Health Law and Ethics, a companion reader designed to facilitate teaching as well as scholarship, provides a good occasion to consider this body of work as a whole and the broad significance it holds for the philosophical foundations and future directions of public health as a profession and as an instrument of public policy. In particular, Gostin's work indicates just how important it is to understand the place of public health law and ethics within the framework of liberalism as a public philosophy.

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