on 26 February 2014
This is a succinct but dense and clearly written account of the transformation which took place in this country with regard to the agency of doctors, the creation of public health authorities, the rise of scientific medicine and the changing role of hospitals.Although the text is nearly twenty years old, it has lost nothing of its relevance and freshness as it provides an illuminating model of social and cutural history writing. Those expecting to read the heroic biographies of past great doctors will be disappointed as they are hardly mentioned.
With my medical background I was familiar with parts of the story but I gained considerable new insights into the social dynamics influencing the educational and institutional reforms of the 19thC ,the ideological positions underpinning some of the prevalent medical theories, the fashioning of orthodox medicine with its eventual domination of the medical market place , the rise of the hospital based medical elite and the reasons for the gradual involvement of the State in matters of Public Health.Nearly every page brought a morsel of new information. This is a work that should be given a prominent place on the shelves of any professional dealing with Health matters as well as those interested in the social history of the 19thC and the early 20thC.