THE GREATEST BENEFIT TO MANKIND: A Medical History of Humanity

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

A learned, lively history of medicine "from Stone Age to New Age, from Galen to Gallo.— Unable to find a modern, readable, one-volume history of medicine for his students, Porter (A Social History of Madness, 1988, etc.), of London's Wellcome Institute for the History of Science, has filled that gap admirably with this fascinating survey of medical theory and practice through the centuries. While ... Read full review

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As a survey of the history of medicine from the Greeks to the present day, "The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" is unsurpassed. It bridges Western and Eastern cultures and is packed with vivid anecdotes of patients and practitioners, including the 18th-century London surgeon John Abernethy, who commanded his fat lady patients: "Madam, buy a skipping rope." Porter, the eminent British historian who died in 2002 at age 55, writes that "the historical record is like the night sky: we see a few stars and group them into mythic constellations. But what is chiefly visible is the darkness." Still, he deftly illuminates much of medicine's historical landscape and shows how our expectations of health and life have been transformed by modern medicine and science. - 8 Oct 2008 - The Wall Street Journal Europe - By Stephanie Snow - Just What the Doctor Ordered - 5 best books on Medicine 

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