Beacon Press Acquires Book About Corruption in Medical Industry; New Yorker to Excerpt

Boston-based Beacon Press has acquired a book by Carl Elliot about consumerism and corruption in the American medical system. Mr. Elliot, a professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, has written about the topic for a range of general-readership publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and The Believer.

According to a press release, the book, tentatively titled White Coat, Black Hat, will be an insider tour of our modern medical system, in which fakery and deception are not just tolerated but rewarded.

The book will be excerpted in The New Yorker, according to a spokeswoman for Beacon Press, though It’s not yet known when the excerpt will appear.

Agent Andrew Blauner represented Mr. Elliot in the deal; Beacon Press director Helene Atwan was the acquiring editor.

In an e-mail, Mr. Elliot said that several major New York publishers had expressed serious interest in the book, but he declined to say which ones.

He noted that one house actually outbid Beacon in the auction, but that he chose to go with Beacon anyway because of their enthusiasm for the book, and because he wanted to work with Ms. Atwan, who worked with Walker Percy when she was an editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux.

"Percy is one of my heroes — another Southerner who went to medical school but gave up medicine to write philosophical books," said Mr. Elliot, who is originally from South Carolina.