• The House of God

  • By: Samuel Shem
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,815 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative journey that takes us into the lives of Roy Basch and five of his fellow interns at the most renowned teaching hospital in the country. Young Dr. Basch and his irreverent confident, known only as the Fat Man, will learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings. Samuel Shem has done what few in American medicine have dared to do---create an unvarnished, unglorified, and amazingly forthright portrait revealing the depth of caring, pain, pathos, and tragedy felt by all who spend their lives treating patients and stand at the crossroads between science and humanity.

With over two million copies sold worldwide, The House of God has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels of the 20th century and compared to Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith for its poignant portrayal of the education of American doctors.

©1978 Stephen Bergman (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Fascinating." ( The Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about The House of God

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance
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Story
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  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

First time I started it I hated it...

I started reading this during my intern year and couldn't get past the second chapter, I found it insulting and unrealistic but I've never experienced anything like that before. I picked it up again in my third year residency and absolutely loved it. I highly recommend anybody in medicine to read it because there are still institutions out there very much like this.

22 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Self-congratulatory softcore porn

That's nearly all this novel was to me. About 20% of it is worthwhile, and the novel could have been condensed as such. The rest is near-unlistenable thinly-veiled boasting and nonstop unnecessary obscenity. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but now it's purely historical!

I read this book way back in medical school, I think. Residency has definitely changed completely since then, but this provides a dark, satirical look at internal medicine training in the 70s.

I was less than impressed with the narration of the book. His voice was ok and he did a decent Roy Basch, but I think some coaching on basic pronounciations of medical terminology would have gone a long way, since I imagine the predominant audience are those in the healthcare field. It just detracts from the story when terms are so mis-pronounced, it's clear this isn't coming from a doctor's mouth.

Still a good little read and makes you kind of wistful for the 'good ol' days'

14 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Gets a lot of hype.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would, but only to doctor friends and I would try to manage their expectations.

If you’ve listened to books by Samuel Shem before, how does this one compare?

n/a

Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

Fats. Good humor, good advice to main character.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably

Any additional comments?

I was a little surprised about the amount of sex in this book. Either I'm really boring or it was a different time in the 70s. If I tried to have sex with as many nurses as what goes on in this book I would have been fired with maybe a lawsuit. Different times....
I don't know if it enhanced the story either.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok, but some real turnoffs

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No.

I had no problem allowing for the fact that this book was written several decades ago. It COULD have been worth reading anyway.

While I find the situations very believable (I've been in healthcare for 35+ years), the writer gets too carried away with his own sexual fantasies/supposed prowess to the point where my mind wandered due to boredom.

Narration was good other than the same complaint I have with many narrators who read books by healthcare professionals: If you are going to narrate a book by a doctor, learn how to pronounce medical terminology correctly for Pete's sake!

What did you like best about this story?
Most of the interpersonal dynamics and the staff's conversations and personal thoughts were very believable.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Yes.

Was The House of God worth the listening time?
No.

Any additional comments?
Still believable in spite of being written years ago and would have kept my attention if not for the far-too-many sex scenes that sounded as if they were written by a Harlequin romance novelist wannabe.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much sex that doesn't add to the subject!

What would have made The House of God better?

If the description would have included the fact that the author refers to sex as often as possible.

Has The House of God turned you off from other books in this genre?

I was never into sex books to begin with. I still like medical books, which I thought this would be, but it's not.

Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

No

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

I would like to return this book

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Raw, real and amazing

I listened to this book as I prepared to start my own internship. Very sobering, raw, funny, and very relatable to those of us in the medical profession. A must-read for anyone entering medicine.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best account of our transition into medicine.

The healthcare machine takes its toll on us. It kills our compassion towards others. those of us who are like by our patients truly are the most distant. this book explains the paradox between trying and being good at our jobs. Those not in medicine would never understand. This book is the most eloquent account of our personal death as we transition into the machine we call healthcare.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging audio, excellent story

Any additional comments?

Yes! I'm a current Internal Medical resident which means two things:
1) I am very sleep deprived - so I usually can't stay awake for an audiobook, but this was VERY well read and engaging!
2) I can relate to the story, which itself was excellent.

The quality of the audio was really key for me!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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House of Bergman is electrifying

consistently honest, funny, compelling, and horrifying, House of God is a must-read. Steve Bergman gives us a narrative of his 70s Medical School experience which sheds a bright light on the medical pharmaceutical industrial complex which runs our corrupt and dysfunctional Healthcare System.

4 people found this helpful