Arrowsmith has been inspirational for several generations of med students. Martin Arrowsmith agonizes over his career and life decisions never sure if he’s making the correct descisions. While the book details Arrowsmith’s pursuit of the noble ideals of medical research for the benefit of mankind and of selfless devotion to the care of patients, Lewis throws many less noble temptations and self-deceptions in Arrowsmith’s path. The attractions of financial security, recognition, even wealth and power distract Arrowsmith from his original plan to follow in the footsteps of his first mentor, Max Gottlieb, a brilliant but abrasive bacteriologist.
A powerful novel that asks more questions than it answers. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
In the course of the novel Lewis describes many aspects of medical training, medical practice, scientific research, scientific fraud, medical ethics, public health, and of personal/professional conflicts that are still relevant today. Professional jealousy, institutional pressures, greed, stupidity, and negligence are all satirically depicted, and Arrowsmith himself is exasperatingly self-involved. But there is also tireless dedication, and respect for the scientific method and intellectual honesty.