Diary

Book review of Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary by Timothy Snyder

His condition worsened, and on Dec. 29, back home in New Haven, where he teaches history at Yale University, he spent 17 hours in the emergency room before a diagnosis was finally made. He now had a baseball-size abscess in his liver, accompanied by bacteria in his bloodstream. He was on the verge of death from overwhelming sepsis. It was probably a complication of a burst appendix.

After emergency surgery, instead of gratitude that he was alive, Snyder felt rage. In fact, rage is the leitmotif of his slender new book, “Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty From a Hospital Diary,” with more than 30 occurrences of the word, averaging roughly one “rage” every five pages.

His central argument is this: America is supposed to be about freedom, but if our health-care system makes us unhealthy, it is making us unfree. Health care, Snyder writes, is a fundamental human right, as

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