Books: Diagnoses

HEARTSOUNDS by Martha Weinman Lear

Simon & Schuster; 413 pages; $12.95

Anyone who has been seriously ill often develops mixed feelings about general practitioners and practitioners in general. Those sentiments have produced a burgeoning nonfiction genre: the antimedical medical book. Last season's outstanding instance was Norman Cousins' Anatomy of an Illness (Norton; $9.95). More in elation than in anger, the former editor of the Saturday Review recounted his battle against a disease of the spinal tissue that physicians had pronounced irreversible. Cousins ignored them. If stress and other negative emotions could trigger illness, he reasoned, positive emotions might restore health. The patient treated...

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