“In A Good Time to Be Born, [Klass] takes the most complex human patterns of all—history, medicine, politics, art—and knits them into something unique and beautiful.”

—The New York Times

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A Good Time To Be Born

How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future


The fight against child mortality that transformed parenting, doctoring and the way we live.

Only one hundred years ago, even in the world’s wealthiest nations, children died in great numbers—of diarrhea, diphtheria and measles, of scarlet fever and meningitis. Culture was shaped by these deaths; diaries and letters recorded them, poets and writers wrote about and lamented them. Not even the high and mighty could escape: presidents and titans of industry lost their children, the poor and powerless lost theirs even more frequently.


The near-conquest of infant and child mortality is one of our greatest human achievements. Perri Klass pulls the story together for the first time, paying tribute to scientists, public health advocates, and groundbreaking women doctors who brought new scientific ideas about sanitation and vaccination to families. Thanks to their work, early death is now the exception, bringing about a massive transformation in society and freeing parents to worry a lot more about a lot less.

On America: Women, Medicine, and Writing

June 10, 2021

6:00 pm ET

Suzanne Koven, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Anita Diamant, an author and journalist from Massachusetts, come together for a special event celebrating their two new book releases focusing on women’s health.


In her memoir Letter to a Young Female Physician, Koven offers deep reflection on her career spent as a physician—touching on feelings of “imposter syndrome;” her roles as doctor, mother, and daughter; and more.


Diamant illuminates the ways in which menstrual injustice limits opportunity and threatens livelihoods in Period. End of Sentence. 


The two authors will discuss the launch of these latest nonfiction projects in a conversation moderated by Dr. Perri Klass, a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University. Klass’s writings include both nonfiction and fiction titles, among them: A Good Time to Be Born and Treatment Kind and Fair: Letters to a Young Doctor.

Learn more and register here.




Missed a talk? You can find recorded talks here.