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Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary
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Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,620 ratings  ·  274 reviews
On December 29, 2019, historian Timothy Snyder fell gravely ill. Unable to stand, barely able to think, he waited for hours in an emergency room before being correctly diagnosed and rushed into surgery. Over the next few days, as he clung to life and the first light of a new year came through his window, he found himself reflecting on the fragility of health, not recognize ...more
Paperback, 179 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Crown
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Kammy
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: advanced-copies
Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book via netgalley!

This is the second book I read by this author. And another book that hits it right where our society is hurting. This book explains that there is a clear malady in our society in regards to our health care system. It explains how it can be fixed with simple concepts. The author clearly and simply explain everything making it easy for readers to grasp and understand the ailments of our society and how to fix it.
Glad the author recov
...more
Ann
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Any discussion of the American health care system raises my blood pressure. I know this because I was discussing something that my insurance company wouldn’t cover with a nurse one time while she was taking my blood pressure. This book is so timely and something I think everyone should read.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com.

Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary by Timothy Snyder is just under 200 pages. While it’s not long, it covers topics we all face daily whether we know it or not—our health and freedom. A Yale professor, historian, and writer, Snyder was not well at the end of 2019. He made multiple visits to Emergency Departments in various hospitals in the U.S. and Europe.

This treatise is both memoir and thoughtful discussion about the i
...more
Ryan
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some books gently tap you on the shoulder to remind you of something important. Some shout it in your ear. Then Timothy Snyder comes along and obliterates you with a bullet train. All in a scant 190 pages! Essential reading from one of the most important minds of our time.
Heidi Green
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this. Then, join the fight for universal health care. Our malady is grave and curable.
Karen
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Timothy Snyder wrote On Tyranny, one of the most terrifying nonfiction books I've ever read.

Our Malady is as compelling as On Tyranny, but much more intimate. It describes Snyder's sudden illness and misdiagnosis by doctors, first in Germany and then in the U.S. He also offers his perspective on the U.S.' dysfunctional corporate-focused healthcare system and how it complicates effectively reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a short book (the audiobook is only about 3 hours long) and profo
...more
Lobstergirl
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yale historian Snyder writes about his bout with appendicitis and the errors at three different hospitals in two countries that left him with an undiagnosed, nearly fatal sepsis just as the Covid pandemic was beginning. It's a fascinating story, and he uses it to muse about how deficient American healthcare is, how we need to reconceptualize it, how its failures make us unfree. There are all sorts of beautiful ideas here. But he's wrong when he claims that in the U.S. "implants are essentially u ...more
Bjorn
Mar 28, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Short version: There is no liberty without health, there is no health without solidarity, there is no solidarity without trust, there is no trust without correct information.

A very American book, to the point where I'm puzzled why this was even (badly) translated into Swedish. Both in the sense that it explicitly deals with the US healthcare system (with others mostly reduced to a few personal anecdotes), and in the way it keeps coming back to the good ol' keywords about liberty and founding fat
...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Snyder is an accomplished historian who has devoted his career to looking at topics such as the Holocaust, the Soviet State, and other forms of tyranny and repression. In this extended essay, he looks at issues with the American healthcare system with both a professional lens as an expert on issues of a state/government and how it treats its' citizens as well as a personal lens as a patient who was seriously ill and struggled to get the needed care. His personal experiences added a level of huma ...more
Q Crain
Sep 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I am not sure who this book is for? Leftists like me already know this and the Right will not find "you can't be free of you are unhealthy" line convincing: this will not get past their fundamental values of individualism and self-sufficiency. ...more
George Neville-Neil
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most important book I've read all year. If you are living in the US, read it, now, then act on it. ...more
Ietrio
Oct 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
A sinister, twisted and fallacious argument of how only total control can bring an individual freedom, think the freedom of a Borg individual to choose the hour on the set day to change its government-chosen oil, by a hive approved technician.

Sure, in the last century and a half there have been many attempts to explain how health care is a right. Meaning if it's your right, it means it is somebody else's obligation to give it to you. And that somebody are the medical professionals who become sla
...more
Laura
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Illuminating, impassioned, and highly depressing. Timothy Snyder writes about public and private health through the lens of his own near-disastrous experience with modern American healthcare. He writes with clarity about the harm that for-profit healthcare has on Americans, both as individuals and as a society; he even offers a prescription for the type of care that could improve our lives. The depressing part is that I don’t think America has the will to make it happen.
Heather
Here Timothy Snyder uses his own very recent, very near-death medical experience as a starting point for deep considerations of most of the United States' current woes. Especially: the flirtation with authoritarianism; our upside down for-profit medical care "industry"; and all too prevelant perverted ideas of democracy and fairness. Much more personal and intimate - and therefore more powerful - than anything else I've read by him. ...more
Kressel Housman
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Like many readers, I became aware of Tim Snyder through his manifesto On Tyranny, which was published right after Trump's election. This book is very similar. It's a short, succinct call to action to resolve the problems in our country. But whereas the first was about the creeping authoritarianism he saw rising with the Trump administration, this is about inequities in our medical delivery system.

The book begins with the author's own medical crisis. He almost died of sepsis, which was misdiagnos
...more
Annikky
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
3+ Snyder is always enjoyable and interesting to read, also here. This is not On Tyranny, though. Both are slight volumes on topical issues, but while On Tyranny is very focused and coherent, Our Malady is a bit all over the place: Snyder’s own illness, the US health care system, the pandemic. I think it would have worked better in a longer analysis of the US and health, with personal experiences serving as a framing device or inspiration. As it stands, the book feels rushed, I suspect because t ...more
Sherry
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book and any of Dr. Snyder's books ("On Tyranny"; "The Road to Unfreedom") would be in your own and this country's (this world's) best interests. Through examining his own recent and nearly deadly illness, he explains how lack of adequate and appropriate health care for all is related to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and our loss and acceptance of it). We are a country run by corporate greed and no where is it more evident that in the "business" of health care. I am ...more
Marks54
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Timothy Snyder is a masterful historian of oppression and mass murder, especially both the Nazi and Soviet varieties. His books are well done and persuasive but also difficult to read. I have had the good fortune to see Professor Snyder present his work to a large audience and would encourage others to do so without fail. He is an intense and passionate speaker, especially about difficult topics.

“Our Malady” is a short book that Snyder has written about health care. This book is an expansion of
...more
anji
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed how this book touched on important issues in the world of medical facilities. It spoke about America's instability and frankly, 𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 to provide care for its citizens. Meanwhile, it also speaks about the standards of hospitals worldwide, whether they be relatively bad or good. I am very thankful to the author, TImothy Snyder, for coming out with their story and speaking about their experience and treatment by doctors in multiple countries. The book opened my eyes to a new perspecti ...more
Jan C
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, politics, 2021
This is my second of Timothy Snyder's books. I have another one on audible.

Just prior to the pandemic, Snyder had appendicitis and was in and out of 3-4 hospitals. Misdiagnosed each time. Explores the risks of going into the hospital in the first place. When hospitals are run on an insurance basis, and thus a profit basis, the goal is to get people in and out of the hospital as fast as possible.

While he was in the fourth hospital the pandemic hit, but no one knew it. Not until several weeks late
...more
Julie
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short, simple, heartfelt, but profound read that is so timely. Snyder, after a life-threatening illness and a hospital stay right before the coronavirus pandemic began, connects all of the dots between families and parenting, the United States government and its abdication of responsibility for its citizens, and the lack of meaningful support and structure for healthcare workers and hospital systems whose employers are more concerned with profit margins and algorithms than people. He also make ...more
Ryan Wyllie
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Snyder makes a strong argument that healthcare is a basic human right. In doing so, he exposes how allowing profit-based decision making to dominate healthcare eliminates individual liberty and weakens our society as a whole. Thoughtfully written and provocative, it leaves the reader painfully aware of the dangers of overly corporatizing sectors of our society where profit should not be the bottom line.
Bianca A.
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: speed-read, 2020
What an awesome book from an author with incredible credentials! Written this year amidst the Covid pandemic by the Professor of History from Yale University, it covers pretty much all the problems in the healthcare system in the US that are becoming increasingly known to the world. There are cases that are being highlighted in the book, as well as the author's own example from 2019.
I find that lately I've been enjoying more and more books about contemporary history and this would be an excelle
...more
Andrew Rothstein
There's a lot wrong with the U.S. medical system and Timothy Snyder spent a great deal of his convalescence thinking about it. Actually, calling the way the U.S. provides healthcare a system is inaccurate. There is no real system. It's just a pile of processes and procedures that are inefficient, expensive, impersonal, unevenly distributed and well beneath the standard that should be expected in our country.

Snyder relates the "malady" of our approach to health care through his personal and fami
...more
Andrew
Nov 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Most of the insurance industry simply collects rents from disease, like trolls on a bridge demanding a toll. The trolls’ profits misleadingly count in gross domestic product, though they are supplying no good and performing no service.
-p. 140


Tim Snyder was ill in late 2019 and early 2020. He was misdiagnosed or incompletely diagnosed while treated at hospitals in Munich, in Florida, and in New Haven.

His diaries serve as fuel for an insistent polemic against American health care, particularly, am
...more
Martin Winter
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: regal-gro
Very personal, compared to his other books, but something that unfortunately still has to be spelled out in the US, that health care is simply done inefficient and wrong in the US, comparing it to the rest of the world.
Dustin
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly recommend this quick book to anyone who has been underwhelmed or worse by American medicine. It explains a lot.
Marla
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very short but important book. Reminds me of how broken the US healthcare system is. We need to take a lesson from some other countries.
RH Walters
Jun 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Synder points out the immorality of our healthcare inequity, and the grave dangers even those with the "best" insurance face in a profit-driven, algorithmic healthcare system. Succint and alarming, he shows how sick our children and country will be under current conditions. I finished this short book on a plane ride and want to buy it for everybody. ...more
Kristi Lamont
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Picked this up from the library's new non-fiction shelf. Didn't read description closely, thus was a little surprised when I realized I was reading not thoughts solely on personal liberty by someone who'd spent a bad stretch in hospital/s, but, in fact, a short dissertation on how personal health and liberty are negatively impacted by the U.S. medical-industrial complex -- by a world-renowned historian and leader in political thought/analysis.

And boy, howdy, was it depressing.

Correct and well-do
...more
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Timothy Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He has held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.

His most recent book is Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, p
...more

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Here at Goodreads World Headquarters, we tend to read a lot of books. Like, a lot a lot. And every December, as we finish up our...
45 likes · 20 comments
“The word freedom is hypocritical when spoken by the people who create the conditions that leave us sick and powerless. If our federal government and our commercial medicine make us unhealthy, they are making us unfree.” 3 likes
“The Nazis treated health care as a way to divide the humans from the subhumans and nonhumans. If we see others as bearers of ailments and ourselves as healthy victims, we are little better than they. If we truly oppose the Nazi evil, we will try to think our way to its opposite, to the good. A part of that effort is to understand that all humans are subject to malady, and have an equal claim to care.” 2 likes
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