Friedman and Friedland have written an engaging history of medicine that is understandable for the layman and, I imagine, illuminating for the medical professional as well. The two doctors (who can boast more than a century of combined medical experience) share enthusiasm and warmth for a subject that has engaged their interest beyond their professional lives. They have given us, not only the history of each discovery, but also the way that each one has changed the world and how we perceive ourselves. Imagine not having a concept of your skeleton as the framework for your body or an understanding of how the heart conducts the circulation of blood in your body. Imagine surgery without anesthesia; a world ravaged by smallpox, polio and tuberculosis; dying of a minor cut or sore throat because antibiotics do not exist. We owe so much to these discoverers, yet they were so human -- people who could be exceedingly petty, who, while being perceptive in certain aspects of their discovery, could be myopic in others. None of these discoverers are presented as intellectual giants. In fact, they often were limited by their own prejudices and needed others to make their discovery one of the 10 greatest. Here are stories of chicanery, international intrigue, the basest of human politics and dumb luck. Fascinating stuff! Friedman and Friedland have talked to many of the major players in the more recent discoveries and have made a few historical discoveries of their own which they share. It is a journey of discovery for the reader as well. The next time someone toasts to your health, you will know just who to thank!