"Is medical education's mission to increase the earning capacity of the profession or is it to improve the public welfare and to advance medical knowledge?" To answer this question, the author has let the "great ones" of medicine's past address the reader directly. Flexner divided MDs into two groups: those in academic medicine and those in private practice and concluded that the two groups are inherently at war with one another. And, Flexner observed: without the faculty controlling patient beds, "the school cannot even organize a clinical faculty in any proper sense of the term." The author humorously discusses problems encountered in pursuing these lofty goals. Stories of growing up in South Alabama--getting a medial education--hospital work--a tour of duty at NIH--and thirty years in the Texas Medical Center spice these fascinating life-experiences.