on 8 February 2014
Tim Hall's 'History of Medicine' achieves that delicate balance required of a factual compendium - including lots of relevant, informative, indeed fascinating, content without creating a heavy, inaccessible list of facts. Instead, Hall's delightfully friendly and engaging style suggests a real passion for his subject with a desire to instil this in his readers.
Don't let the readable, conversational presentation fool you however - this book is full of content, from the obligatory major advances in technology and understanding, to intriguing titbits and anecdotes. Perhaps most importantly, Hall approaches this with an evidently sound clinical basis, which really comes across, and provides relevance and authority to his writing.
The format of the book is perhaps the only disappointment; visually 'modest'. This is undoubtedly rescued by input from the magnificent Quentin Blake, whose graphics punctuate the text. It is only a pity they are not in colour.
Overall as a lover of medical history this is a delightfully fresh and highly relevant addition to existing works and surely essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest.
on 21 March 2014
Although this is a small book, it contains a wealth of information and clearly involved an enormous amount of work by Tim Hall. He canters through the centuries at a brisk pace, but the mixture of facts and interesting comment, combined with his sense of humour and eye for the absurd, make the book a real pleasure to read. I was sorry to get to the end of it.
on 21 June 2014
In comparison to the usual weighty & dry tomes on the topic, this little book is like a breath of fresh air. It covers the progress of medicine in all its guises from the days of cave dwellers, through the dark and medieval periods, to the era of science and enlightenment that we now consider "modern" medicine. Given how little was really known when trying to heal and cure in mankind's early days, it's clearly nothing short of a miracle that the human race survived at all!!
Tim Hall's witty and light narrative is so easy to read - peppered with intelligent humour and quirky metaphor - which gives this book the feel of an interesting dinner party guest instead of a factual text. Quentin Blake's fabulous illustrations compliment the text perfectly and were the icing on the cake for me (being a lifelong fan).
I genuinely enjoyed reading this.