Bioethics Blogs

Book Review: The Brewsters


Book Review: The Brewsters written by Jeffrey P. Spike, Thomas R. Cole, and Richard Buday 

Reviewed by: E. Ann Jeschke M.T.S




A real challenge for those studying to become health care professionals or ethicists is engaging real people in situations that do not easily fit into textbook answers and defy the limits of sound argumentation. In their book The Brewesters, Jeffrey P. Spike, Thomas R. Cole, and Richard Buday expose their readers to the nitty-gritty of health care professionalism, clinical ethics, and research ethics through a choose your adventure format. The novelty of The Brewsters lies not so much in the format, as in the way the book introduces theoretical concepts by encouraging readers to enter the complexity of the ethical decision making process and experience the consequences. The Brewsters requires its readers to clothe themselves in the daily challenges of six difference characters in order to embody the complexity of health care ethics. Readers of The Brewsters must be ready to roll up their proverbial sleeves and get their hands dirty by trying to figure out how to navigate common ethical dilemmas of health care. The pedagogical brilliance of this book lies in the fact that it engages the reader by making ethics real and deeply personal. 

The Brewsters is organized into three main acts. The first half of each act is narrative that relates various perspectives on the Brewster’s family drama. The second half of each act highlights the most pressing theoretical elements pertaining to health care professionalism, clinical ethics, and research ethics that were uncovered in the events of the narrative section.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.