Prior to the pandemic, Yale historian Timothy Snyder fell gravely ill. Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary, is his account of a near death experience and follow-up treatment he received in five hospitals within three months. Paying a visit to the emergency room for a baseball-sized abscess in his liver from an overlooked burst appendix he suffered from in fall 2019, Snyder’s writings waver between explanations of his unresolved medical condition, his reflection on his past life experiences and thoughts of how his family would be without him.
Providing a firsthand glimpse into his experience with the U.S. healthcare system, his diary offers valuable insight to facing emergencies, making decisions and recovery in what he describes as a broken system. Using historical documentation, data and statistics to support his claim, he makes a case for fixing it.
Readers will be drawn to his compelling story and challenged to consider the prospect of confronting a similar healthcare event.
Liz Menigo is an associate librarian at Hennepin County Library: Maple Grove.