In the late ‘60s when David Sklar walked the hallowed halls of an elite New Hampshire academy as a prep school student, it never occurred to him that those unforgettable years would one day serve as the backdrop of his debut novel. Atlas of Men borrows scenes from Sklar’s own experience as the unwitting subject of an unethical research study that left him and his fellow classmates traumatized for years to come.
Atlas of Men follows Dr. Robert Thames whose life is turned upside down when three boxes unexpectedly arrive at his Washington, D.C. doorstep, and he begins to uncover a 50-year-old scandal hidden behind the doors of a famed New England preparatory school. Now an infectious disease specialist searching for new antibiotic cures, Dr. Thames grew up as the adopted Filipino son of medical missionaries before attending the mostly-white Danvers Academy, which is modeled after Sklar’s alma mater. As he opens three Danvers-addressed boxes, painful memories resurface sparking his quest to unbury the truth of a research study, from which he was a subject.
In his novel, Sklar raises important ethical questions about research with human subjects and science’s relationship to race and identity, all within a thrilling narrative of scandal and secrecy at a prestigious private school.
From 1965 to 1968, David Sklar attended a prep school where he was the unwitting subject of a research study that attempted to link body type to leadership potential. This disturbing experience inspired Atlas of Men. Sklar’s previous book, a memoir, La Clinica, explores his experience as a volunteer in a rural Mexican clinic prior to medical school and how it shaped his later career in healthcare. An emergency physician, researcher, editor of a medical education journal, and a Professor of Medicine at both Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico, Sklar currently lives with his wife in Phoenix, Arizona.