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The House of God [Paperback]

Samuel Shem
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.56 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 7 2010
By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative journey that takes us into the lives of Roy Basch and five of his fellow interns at the most renowned teaching hospital in the country. Young Dr. Basch and his irreverant confident, known only as the Fat Man, will learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings.

Samuel Shem has done what few in American medicine have dared to do—create an unvarnished, unglorified, and amazingly forthright portrait revealing the depth of caring, pain, pathos, and tragedy felt by all who spend their lives treating patients and stand at the crossroads between science and humanity.

With over two million copies sold worldwide, The House of God has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels of the twentieth century and compared to Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith for its poignant portrayal of the education of American doctors.
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Frequently Bought Together

The House of God + Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science + The Night Shift
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.55

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"Fascinating." ---The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From the Publisher

"Brilliant !" -- Chicago Tribune. "Bawdy blistering... this is Catch-22 with stethoscopes." --Cosmopolitan.

Now a classic! The hilarious novel of the healing arts that reveals everything your doctor never wanted you to know. Six eager interns -- they saw themselves as modern saviors-to-be. they came from the top of their medical school class to the bottom of the hospital staff to serve a year in the time-honored tradition, racing to answer the flash of on-duty call lights and nubile nurses. But only the Fat Man --the calm, all-knowing resident -- could sustain them in their struggle to survive, to stay sane, to love-and even to be doctors when their harrowing year was done.

"Does for the practice of medicine what Catch-22 and M*A *S *H did for the practice of warfare." -- The Newark Star-Ledger

"Wildly funny... frightening... outrageous, moving... a story of modern medicine rarely, if, ever told." -- The Houston Chronicle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That's the Way It Was May 17 2004
By drruss
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book when I was a medical resident at a Southern BMS (Best Medical School), and I was convinced that the author ("Dr. X" at the time) was a colleague! His language, descriptions of patients, anecdotes, and staff portrayals were too similar not to have come directly from the wards and clinics where I worked. And, I was horrified to see, from another vantage point, what I and my fellow residents were becoming. When I re-read the book decades later, I was grateful that a great many things have changed in our approaches to training new physicians.
There are two primary aspects of interest in this book: first, it is an uproariously funny book to anyone who trained in an urban medical center in the 1960-1970 era (others will miss 90% of the "in-group" humor), and, second, it is a devastating indictment of the way that physicians were trained at medical centers in the middle of the 20th century.
It is a good read, but now of most interest to 50+ year-old physicians and nurses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All too real.... Dec 13 2003
In this age of reality TV, many will be fascinated, repelled, disturbed and intrigued about this look in the life of a resident intern at a large teaching hospital. For those in the know, it is a sarcastic yet honest glimpse of the perils of an intern.
House of God focuses on Dr. Roy Basch- a new intern who is working at a large teaching institution. Like all interns, he is thrown in with the instruction to "keep the patient alive." He battles grueling schedules, hopeless patients, attendings and disease. He learns from the chief, interns and residents--and even the patients "gomers".
For those who are unfamiliar with medical training this book would be very disturbing, but for those of us who know what residents go is surprisingly real. I first read this book as an M4- just about to start July 1st internship. As an M4 you are cocky, arrogant and optimistic and this book was funny, sacriligous even. I read it again after finishing residency and was struck by how honest it was to the residency experience..sometimes painfully so.
I liked the book when i first read it, but i can appreciate it more now...It is surprising that the author was able to capture the feelings of interns and be brave enough to put it into book form.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A distorted view of an internship March 12 2004
This is a very uneven book. My internship was many years ago but it's hard to believe it's changed that much. Doctors and nurses having sex in the hospital, often in a very exposed place? I never saw that and think most of the interns were far more interested in getting some sleep rather than sex. It's unbelievably tough, and it's really hard because you know know that your mistakes might kill people, not just result in a bad grade on a test. You begin to feel the weight of responsibility that you will carry around with you likes chains for the rest of your proffesional life. This is a book meant to be a sensationalized book that will sell well, not one that attempts to portray what an interns life is like at a big teaching hospital . My intership was in a good public hospital, and the surpervision and help from a large base of visiting doctors was excellent. And we didn't spend time trying to transfer patiets off of our sevice
It is well written in a sort of hurried way,so if you read it you may have a good time, but you won't come away knowing much about interns.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Most docs and interns should read this book. July 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book at the beginning of my internship (2001) and, though I liked it very much, I found that the author's vision of Medicine was way too dark and bitter. It was more of a novel (like Robin Cook's, but actually good) than anything else for me.
(Some spoilers below)
Then, I read it again after becoming a doctor. And I don't see this book as a novel anymore. I could relate to almost all of Dr.Basch's (main char) crisis, his initial egomania that made him believe he could 'save the world', his withdrawn from friends and loved ones getting to such point that he'd prefer to hang at the ICU than to be with his girlfriend, seeing his intern friends deteriorate physically and psychologically while unaware of his own decay.
I was shocked when I realized I went through a lot of the things he had, including dear people acusing me of being cold and absent.
Some doctors say that internship destroys your inner being, others say that it makes it die and reborn like a Phoenix. Anyway, nobody goes through internship all the way without leaving something behind, and sometimes these things might be what you liked most about yourself. Or the ones that liked you.
Anyway it is an excellent, fun (very sarcastic) and, now I see, VERY realistic.
I love this book and I will likely read it again in a couple of years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended read for medical students April 29 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Recently while we were riding in the car together, my boyfriend was updating me on the condition of his sick grandfather. The week before his grandpa had been hospitalized after a fall, but a CT scan showed an intestinal perforiation. His condition was complicated by the fact that he suffered from diabetes and severe obesity after a lifetime of eating Wisconsin cheese and fried foods on the farm. My boyfriend was upset because the operation had not gone well and the surgeons took hours longer than had been expected. His grandfather was now in the burn unit of the hospital waiting a transfer to the regional medical center. As soon as my boyfriend got this information out about the surgery I immediately started explaining how the surgeons probably had more infection to clean out of the abdomen then they had expected and how his grandfather was probably in the burn unit because the wound could not have been closed up very well on account of it being abdominal surgery that needs to drain, but also that with all of his grandpa's stomach fat it probably just did not close because it's impossible to stitch fat together . . . Argh! Awful, awful me! Here my boyfriend is concerned about his grandfather's life, and I'm rambling on about what little I can guess about the surgery being the "knowledgeable" second year medical student that I am. I didn't even ask how the poor old guy was doing. And worse yet, I didn't realize what I was doing until my boyfriend interrupted me, "Elizabeth, enough! My grandpa is not incisions that won't close or infection! I can't believe you! You haven't even asked me how he's doing. What are you learning in medical school?! Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars and funny.
This book is way too satyrical, sexual, cynical, and funny.
Published 1 day ago by oGs
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaing and educative
A very realistic portrayal of the time of an intern going through the period of residency. Samuel Shem did a good job with the narrative in "The House of God", vividly... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bobby Ferguson
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic med student read
I started this book while doing clerkship in med school and just finished it after a few trials many years later. Read more
Published 9 months ago by SeekUp78
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Story about interns at an American Hospital. Takes the basis of life as an intern and perhaps paints it with widely exaggerated colors. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2011 by oceanus
4.0 out of 5 stars Old but real and still funny
I am on my fourth copy of this book. The others eventually disintegrated. I first read it while training in Toronto in 1980. It was spot on. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2009 by Brian Ashe
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed Harry Hill's life
Per John Koski of the 'Books' column in the Daily Mail April 2004, when asked "Have any books changed your life? Read more
Published on May 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it the Second Time Around
I read this book in the early 1980's and laughed out loud then. I read it recently and laughed twice as hard. This is a classic! Read more
Published on March 1 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars It Still Applies Today
Being a med student and working to "save" lives in the hospital for the last two years, I can totally relate myself to the main character of The House of God. Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2004 by A Sarah Slean's new fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Enormously Funny!
Samuel Shem (Stephen Bergman, M.D.) has written an amazingly funny story containing more medical truth than many realize. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by J. Hanks
5.0 out of 5 stars A+++ Awesome Catch 22 Internship
A wonderful wildly provocative heartbreaking book. I enjoy the journey of Roy Basch and his fellow interns dissecting the real world in the most famous teaching hospital. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by PrettyinRedPink
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