L's Reviews > Moloka'i

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
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's review
Jun 03, 2008

really liked it
Recommended for: gio
Read in July, 2008

Moloka'i . . . what a beautiful sounding name for a culmination of cruelty in health policy. And yet the beauty of the name does fit the essence of th tale,which is one of the strength of ordinary people and the building of community in the face of great difficulty.

Moloka'i was a leper colony in Hawaii, dominated by bureaucrats, repression, and the Catholic church, all mixed together with a devastating and terrifying (at the time) disease, in the context of U.S. imperialism and WWII. The portrayal of the stigma of leprosy provided is very powerful, as is the author's vision of the cruelty of forced, extreme quarantine (until death).

Yet story of leprosy is a story of hope and love. Much of this book is not easy to read, while some of it seems a bit candy-coated/Pollyannaish. That and the skipping of huge blocks of time in the story are why it has fewer stars than it otherwise might from me. (I'm rounding up, here.)

I might find myself recommending it to my medical sociology students; Gio we might want to include it in our course (though it is long to make a few points, albeit powerful points).
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01/31/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by jo (last edited Jul 24, 2008 02:47PM) (new)

jo sounds awesome. so we are teaching that course, hey? i can barely think of the one i'm teaching in the fall and you are jumping miles ahead. oh, linda!

i got Generation RX out of the library today.

if we teach the course we should think of what, among all the many things one can say about healthcare in america, we want to say. but maybe this is a conversation better conducted elsewhere...

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