The discovery of insulin

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University of Chicago Press, May 15, 2007 - Medical - 304 pages
16 Reviews

When insulin was discovered in the early 1920s, even jaded professionals marveled at how it brought starved, sometimes comatose diabetics back to life. In this now-classic study, Michael Bliss unearths a wealth of material, ranging from scientists' unpublished memoirs to the confidential appraisals of insulin by members of the Nobel Committee. He also resolves a longstanding controversy dating to the awarding of the Nobel to F. G. Banting and J. J. R. Macleod for their work on insulin: because each insisted on sharing the credit with an additional associate, medical opinion was intensely divided over the allotment of credit for the discovery. Bliss also offers a wealth of new detail on such subjects as the treatment of diabetes before insulin and the life-and-death struggle to manufacture it.


“The definitive history . . . well written, highly readable.”—London Review of Books


“The story of insulin's discovery ought to be a novel . . . but Michael Bliss's splendid account is just as absorbing as any fiction.”—Isis


“Bliss's excellent account of the insulin story is a rare dissection of the anatomy of scientific discovery, and serves as a model of how rigorous historical method can correct the myths and legends sometimes perpetrated in the scientific literature.”—New Republic


“Scrupulously researched and compellingly readable . . . I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with an interest in diabetes, medical history, or medical scandal and gossip.”—British Medical Journal


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Loved this book. it reads like a suspense novel!

Review: The Discovery of Insulin

User Review  - Maryann Jorissen - Goodreads

I was very disappointed in this book. It was not what I expected at all. Many pages were devoted to discussion of the research. Without a modicum if experience in research, one can lose interest pretty quickly. Steps in extraction and manufacture were covered again the story was dry. Read full review

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Preface 20077
CHAPTER ONE A Long Prelude20
CHAPTER TWO Bantings Idea45

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About the author (2007)

Michael Bliss is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, a recipient of the Order of Canada, and an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is the award-winning author of many books, including William Osler: A Life in Medicine and Harvey Cushing: A Life in Surgery.