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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and clear summary of this fascinating subject., 31 Dec 2001
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine (Cambridge Illustrated Histories) (Paperback)
This lavishly illustrated book gives an in depth introduction to this fascinating if at times gruesome area of knowledge. It has been edited by Sir Roy Porter, Professor for the History of Medicine at University College, London and one of the county's leading academics on this subject. The ten chapters have been written with clarity and authority by a range of acknowledged experts, including Roy Porter himself and they manage to maintain the level of interest throughout.
The topics covered range form the history of disease itself, based upon archaeology and ancient written sources through to the development of our modern understanding of how disease should be treated. The final chapter written by Geoff Watts looks at the most modern developments and suggests where medical science may lead us in the future.
All sections of the book are beautifully illustrated with both contemporary engravings and paintings and modern photographs. There is a thorough bibliography and index and these make the book an even more valuable resource, which should be present in all secondary school and college libraries.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting information, very readable, covers only Western, 19 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine (Cambridge Illustrated Histories) (Paperback)
This book covers much of the history of Western medicine. It glances through some of the fields of the medicine separately, and in general does not advance year-by-year, or pay much attention to outline large number of developments in medicine. Rather it is collection of almost essay like chapters on various topics, like psychiatry, or history of disease, for instance. This makes the book very readable, something that does not demand you complete attention, yet it also leaves one craving for more. Especially since this book covers only history of Western medicine, and (practically) does not address Egyptian or Indian medicine at all. Of course this is justifiable in the sense that the story authors are trying to tell is about how Western medicine came to be, and there is little useful in ancient medicine. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to have a peak at the worse-than-useless ancient practises out of historical interest.
The most captivating part of this book really tells the story of how patients became less and less satisfied when medicine could actually do more and more for them, and turned instead to alternative treatments that could do nothing to cure them of their diseases but whose practisers could give them comfort and false hopes.
I would like to give this book 3,5 stars, but this is not possible. An easy-to-read book with a collection of interesting essays. Does not give that good a picture about temporal development of the whole field of medicine, but tells many interesting stories. I would recommend this book to interested reader's of general public and those physicians and medical students who wish to know something about the history of medicine.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLEAR AND CONCISE, 14 Jan 2004
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telelover (milan, italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine (Cambridge Illustrated Histories) (Paperback)
THIS IS A VERY CLEAR AND WELL EDITED OVERVIEW TO MEDICAL HISTORY WHICH IS VERY NICELY ILLUSTRATED THROUGHOUT. I FOUND IT PARTICULARLY USEFUL FOR BOTH MY WORK (I TEACH AT A MEDICAL SCHOOL) AND MY OWN PERSONAL INTEREST. UNFORTUNATELY, ROY PORTER IS NO LONGER WITH US TO CARRY ON THE GOOD WORK. THERE IS AN EXCELLENT BIBLOGRAPHY IF ANYONE SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN FURTHER READING.
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