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This book studies the experience of twelve countries that have broken through the limits that low incomes so often impose on human survival: China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the former Soviet Union, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela. Most made impressive gains in life expectancy in the decades after 1920, and by 1960 nearly matched the rich countries in survival. James C. Riley finds that all of these countries enjoyed significant social growth, all invested in public health, and all gained the people's participation in the effort to improve their own lives and health. This innovative analysis suggests an alternative model of growth in which the measure of a nation's success is not its per capita income but the life expectancy of its population.
"Concise and highly readable . . . [T]his volume is an important contribution to the literature about mortality decline."—Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"An important book. . . . Intellectually stimulating [and] full of thoughtful policy implications."—JAMA