The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (The Norton History of Science)

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 17, 1999 - Family & Relationships - 831 pages
5 Reviews

"To combine enormous knowledge with a delightful style and a highly idiosyncratic point of view is Roy Porter's special gift, and it makes [this] book . . . alive and fascinating and provocative on every page."—Oliver Sacks, M.D.

Hailed as "a remarkable achievement" (Boston Sunday Globe) and as "a triumph: simultaneously entertaining and instructive, witty and thought-provoking . . . a splendid and thoroughly engrossing book" (Los Angeles Times), Roy Porter's charting of the history of medicine affords us an opportunity as never before to assess its culture and science and its costs and benefits to mankind. Porter explores medicine's evolution against the backdrop of the wider religious, scientific, philosophical, and political beliefs of the culture in which it develops, covering ground from the diseases of the hunter-gatherers to today's threat of AIDS and ebola, from the clearly defined conviction of the Hippocratic oath to the muddy ethical dilemmas of modern-day medicine. Offering up a treasure trove of historical surprises along the way, this book "has instantly become the standard single-volume work in its field" (The Lancet). "The author's perceptiveness is, as usual, scalpel-sharp; his manner genially bedside; his erudition invigorating." - Simon Schama

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User Review  - Widsith - LibraryThing

The defects of this book are many, but it would hurt to give it less than four stars and, the avoidance of pain being one of Porter's main themes, I will stick to a suitably thematic rating. There are ... Read full review

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User Review  - neurodrew - LibraryThing

The Greatest Benefit of Mankind Roy Porter Sunday, August 12, 2012 11:38 AM This is a massive survey of medicine in history. It is not only about physicians, but about the relations of humans to ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Roy Porter (1946--2002) was professor of the history of medicine at University College, London. His books include Blood and Guts, The Creation of the Modern World, Flesh in the Age of Reason, and The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

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