If you are interested in learning more about the history of Kaiser Permanente, the books listed here are all good resources. With the exception of The Story of Dr. Sidney R. Garfield and Permanente in the Northwest, these books are out of print, but copies can often been located through libraries and mainstream used booksellers, such as AbeBooks , Alibris , Barnes and Noble , Half Price Books or Powell’s Books .
The Story of Dr. Sidney R. Garfield: The Visionary Who Turned Sick Care Into Health Care
Tom Debley with Jon Stewart
The first biography of Dr. Garfield tells the story of his long and eventful career, during which he turned his 1930s Mojave Desert industrial health care dream into a thriving and enduring reality that continues to offer a practical model for the future of American health care.
The Permanente Press, 2009, 148 pages
Available from The Permanente Press
Permanente in the Northwest
Ian C. MacMillan
This book fills a large gap in the history of Kaiser Permanente – the unique contribution made by the Northwest region, especially in the early years. The author, retired Northwest internist Ian C. MacMillan, demonstrates an insider’s insight and enviable access to details that thoroughly enrich this account.
The Permanente Press, 2010, 313 pages
Available from The Permanente Press
A good overview of the World War II Home Front experience in the Kaiser Richmond shipyards. The book is written for the general reader and includes many personal anecdotes about Home Front life.
Richmond Museum of History, 252 pages, 2011
Out of Print
A Model for National Health Care: The History of Kaiser Permanente
This extensively researched book is the definitive academic history of Kaiser Permanente that tells the story of its growth and impact on American health care.
Rutgers University Press, 1993, 265 pages
Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940-1950
Part of an extensive history of California series, this book includes discussion of Henry J. Kaiser, his wartime industrial efforts, and the founding of Kaiser Permanente.
Oxford University Press, 2002, 386 pages
Henry J. Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West
In this academic biography, historian Foster offers the definitive balanced view of Kaiser, covering his mistakes as well as his colossal strengths and successes.
University of Texas Press, 1991, 358 pages
Henry Kaiser, Western Colossus
This very readable biography is by a former Kaiser Steel executive who was an eyewitness to much of Henry Kaiser’s career.
Halo Books, 1991, 434 pages
Kaiser Wakes the Doctors
Paul De Kruif
This book by America’s foremost medical writer of the era was the first ever written about the revolutionary medical care available in the Kaiser World War II shipyards.
Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1943, 158 pages
Kaiser Permanente Health Plan: Why It Works
The author was commissioned to investigate Kaiser Permanente to assess “what it is, how it works, and whether it is good or bad.”
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1971, 92 pages
Can Physicians Control the Quality and Costs of Health Care? The Story of The Permanente Medical Group
John G. Smillie, MD
Smillie, an early Northern California Permanente physician, offers an insider’s view of the beginnings of the Kaiser Permanente medical care program.
McGraw Hill, 1991, 283 pages
The Kaiser Story
When Henry J. Kaiser passed away in 1967, Kaiser Industries published this short book as a tribute to the company’s founder.
Kaiser Industries, 1968, 72 pages
Life Among the Doctors
Paul de Kruif
A collection of essays on people the author regarded as pioneers in medicine, including: Sidney Garfield, MD, in a section titled “The Last Maverick;” Edna Schrick, MD, whom de Kruif quotes as suggesting to Dr. Garfield that “we learn how to teach the well to take care of themselves…to keep away from doctors”; and Herman Kabat, MD, who founded the Kabat-Kaiser Institute, now the Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center in Vallejo.
Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1949, 470 pages
Mr. Kaiser Goes to Washington: The Rise of a Government Entrepreneur
Stephen B. Adams
Historian Adams offers Kaiser’s story as a case study of “government entrepreneurship.” He explores the symbiotic relations forged by Kaiser and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The University of North Carolina Press, 1997, 239 pages
The Rich Neighbor Policy: Rockefeller and Kaiser in Brazil
Elizabeth A. Cobbs
Cobbs details how Henry Kaiser’s participation in the Brazilian auto industry impacted U.S. foreign relations and how postwar businessmen sought accommodation with Latin American nationalism by evolving a code of ‘corporate social responsibility.’
Yale University Press, 1992, 273 pages
Historical Review of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group: Its Role in the Development of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Southern California
Raymond M. Kay, MD
A history of the SCPMG written by Dr. Raymond Kay, who was Sidney Garfield’s close friend, a pioneer of the Permanente Medical Groups, and the founder of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
SCPMG, 1979, 174 pages
Kaiser Permanente: A Short History
Gerry Gaintner, EdD, was a Kaiser Permanente employee for 15 years, all in the Information Technology department. He wrote this concise history in 2010, and upon his retirement, gifted it to KP Heritage Resources.
Unpublished, 2011, 42 pages
Available for download (pdf)