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Author: Yuri Lisitzin; translated by Vasil Cholakov

Editor's Note: The name of this author does not require an introduction. Prof. Y. Lisitzin has been one of the leading methodologists in the socialized medicine and public health of the former USSR. Since most of his writings has been landmark publications for both soviet and foreign specialists /i.e., from Eastern Europe/ in the field, subsequently we present in translation this book of utmost importance for the interested public. The limited circulation of the material at hand has made this work a bibliographic rarity for the bulgarian reader, moreover its contextual meaning contained a lot of information that was regarded as ideological warfare in the socialist counties. For the time being, a book like this is a historical artifact in Bulgaria and much of the ideas are re-evaluated from new theoretical standpoints in medicine and public health. The fact that the author couldn't prognosticate a change or transition in the socialist system was not his fault; furthermore, many of the items in the book held reference to inherent problems in capitalism itself and were subjected to revisionism from within. Whatever the importance of the debate at hand, we are confident that this particular monograph from author Y. Lisitzin is an interesting analysis of modern medicine and deserve to be called a classic. From the bulgarian side, translation was done by Dr. Vasil Cholakov and masterfully presented for the literary heritage, ditto.


Prof. Y. Lisitzin has been an expert from WHO and this book was sponsored during his numerous trips from abroad. We would like to present here a table of contents with some brief commentaries, however a full evaluation of the book is impossible because of the wealth of information contained in it and the wide variety of references contained in its index. We decided to present the material chapter by chapter, as we were aware that much of the original information from this book was later re-circulated from many other authors of the socialist research community:

Chapter 1, deals with the diseases of the modern civilization and the change in pattern of contemporary pathology. The author has used various population bulletins from the United Nations and reports from the World Health Organization. Conclusively have been recognized a retreat in prevalence and incidence of the infectious diseases which have been marking a decline since the beginning of the 20th century. Wealth of data sources are presented in tables and graphics. Subsequently, the rise in mortality from degenerative pathology have been postulated and numbers have been provided to illustrate this statement. For instance, the structure of mortality from a cross-section in year 1960 and for a representative group of developed countries is given in Table 1 /i.e., USSR and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe are included in this group, according to criteria of the UN and other world statistics reports/.

This abridged table is compiled by the author. Similar one is given with respect to age, generation and social class effect. While the first two variables have straightforward interpretation /i.e., in terms of aging of the population and cohort variations/, further the social class variable is out of meaning for a situation in socialist classless society. Prof. Y. Lisitzin has deviated this question, marking that there are still some strata in socialism that are in a needy position and mainly referring to non-qualified and uneducated strata in society.


Heart Diseases and Cardiovascular Circulation Disorders
38.1 %
Cancer Disease and Neoplasms
16.7 %
Accident and Trauma Disease
5.0 %

Infectious and Parasitic diseases

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Inborn Anomalies


Birth Trauma, Asphyxia, Atelektasis, etc.



4-5 %

3-4 %

1-2 %

1-2 %

1-2 %




Chapters 2-4, after a long and exhaustive first chapter comes the kernel of the book comprised in the following three chapters. Here the author makes an evaluation on wide number of theories, which have been in circulation for a period of twenty years or so in the aftermath of the Second World War. The Soviet Union has experienced an unprecedented boom in its development - i.e., both scientifically and technically - while the western civilization seemed to slow down in its recovery from the World War. Whereas the industrialization problems are not an object for this book, subsequently a quasi-complacent critique is given for most of the aspects in contemporary bourgeois medicine. Commentaries are supported with a long list of reference literature, which is not cited here for the purposes of brevity and nevertheless we were tempted to delve in short to some of the conjectures in this book,

~ R. Dubos and his theory of social desadaptation for the modern man, his estrangement from the nature and the subsequent effects on the environment;

~ P. Delor on the integration and differentiation between clinical medicine and social medicine, the former having a socio-historical effect on the latter;

~ C. E. Winslow with his socio-economics theory in "Cost of sickness and price of health", while the relationship between poverty and health has been debated even in the 19th century from such public health activists as E. Chadwick, J. Simon, etc. and converging in present time with the prophets of under-development in society R. Sand, G. Myrdal and others;

~ A. Hawley was debated on his approach with human ecology as an attempt to deal holistically with the phenomenon of human organization, while his early ideas were continued by sociologists such as R. Park, R. McKenzie, etc. and also clinging toward liberal anarchy in the work of other prophets of social ecology;

~ E. Rogers and the circle of medical ecology, who have developed an institutionalized approach towards genetic polymorphism and geographic variation of disease, etc.

Chapter 5-7, here the book gives an account on the state of development in psycho-somatic medicine. This is a separate field in modern health and allied sciences, which accompanies the rise of mental disease in modern society. Since this topic has been developed elsewhere in our booklist /i.e., most ostensibly dealing with authors ranging from Z. Freud to H. Selye/, we shall preclude our commentaries right for the moment.



Copyright 2006 by the author.