Samuel Shem is the pen-name of the American psychiatrist Stephen Joseph Bergman (born 1944). His main works are The House of God and Mount Misery, both fictional but close-to-real first-hand descriptions of the training of doctors in the United States.
Bergman was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford in 1966, and was tutored by Denis Noble FRS, cardiac physiologist and later head of the Oxford Cardiac Electrophysiology Group. In an address to Dr. Noble's retirement party Balliol, he related that Denis Noble's response to Bergman's attempt to become a writer was to ply him with copious sherry.
Shem's play Bill W. and Dr. Bob had an Off Broadway run at New World Stage in New York City. It ran for 132 performances and closed on June 10, 2007. The New York Times called it "An insightful new play."
He has a new book, At the Heart of the Universe, (Published by Seven Stories Press) due out on May 17th of 2016.
His works are:
- The House of God (1978)
- Fine (1985)
- Mount Misery (ISBN 0-8041-1555-9)
- Bill W. and Dr. Bob (play on alcoholism and the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous - Bill W. and Dr Bob)(with Janet Surrey, 1990)
- We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Men and Women (with Janet Surrey, 1999, ISBN 0-465-09114-8)
- The Spirit of the Place (ISBN 978-0-87338-942-6, June 2008)
- At the Heart of the Universe (To be published on May 17, 2016 by Seven Stories Press)
- Shem S (2002). "Fiction as Resistance" (PDF). Ann Intern Med 137 (11): 934–7. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-137-11-200212030-00022. PMID 12459000.
- Official website
- Bill W. and Dr. Bob. - Shem's off-Broadway show
- The Spirit of the Place - link to publisher's page