The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor

December 2, 2020
The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor

A moving memoir and an extraordinary love story thatshows how an expert physician became a family caregiver and learnedwhy care is so central to all our lives and yet is at risk intoday's world.When Dr. Arthur Kleinman, an eminent Harvard psychiatrist andsocial anthropologist, began caring for his wife, Joan, after shewas diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, he found justhow far the act of caregiving extended beyond the boundaries ofmedicine. In The Soul of Care: The Education of a Husband andDoctor, Kleinman delivers a deeply humane and inspiring storyof his life in medicine and his marriage to Joan, and he describesthe practical, emotional and moral aspects of caretaking. He alsowrites about the problems our society faces as medical technologyadvances and the cost of health care soars but caring for patientsno longer seems important.Caregiving is long, hard, unglamorous work—at moments joyous,more often tedious, sometimes agonizing, but it is always rich inmeaning. In the face of our current political indifference and thechallenge to the health care system, he emphasizes how we must askuncomfortable questions of ourselves, and of our doctors. To givecare, to be "present" for someone who needs us, and to feel andshow kindness are deep emotional and moral experiences, enactmentsof our core values. The practice of caregiving teaches us what ismost important in life, and reveals the very heart of what it is tobe human.