Scientific American has published a single-topic issue for the past 24 years. This volume is the hard-back edition of the September 1973 issue that focused on the "crisis" in American health services. The editors identify the crisis as the chronic "long-term, deep-running changes in the medical economy that are proceeding in the main without direction from plan or policy."
Certainly no one can any longer ignore the crescendo of debate about rising expectations, and costs, of health care. However, what is often missed is the profound changes in perspectives, values, and institutions that are also part of the crisis. So often, it seems that those of us in the health professions calculate the impact of change only in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, or economy. It takes historians in each age to translate the facts of change into implications for living. The 13 chroniclers in this volume have done a good