2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Well-written & interesting,
This review is from: Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine (Paperback)
This seems to me a decent overview of the history of medicine, tackled from successive angles - disease, doctors, the body, and so on. Of necessity, being only a couple hundred of pages, it covers a lot of ground very quickly (amusingly, one of the sources is "A Scandalously Short History of Medicine", which is more than twice as long!), and its origin in medical lectures at the Wellcome Trust Centre is quite obvious from the way it is written.
Whether or not you're in the medical profession (I'm not), it's nevertheless engagingly written & informative. The author does make one unsupported & highly questionable assertion early on. Since hunter-gatherer & nomadic societies have continued to survive through to the present day, often alongside settled agricultural ones, I can't agree that agriculture was invented because of incipient starvation, particularly since it could not have happened anything like quickly enough. Rather, the gradual development of agricultural techniques created the conditions for a population explosion that continues to this day.
On the other hand, for that reason, I think he's absolutely spot on when he cites the rise of civilisation and of ever-increasing settlement as providing the conditions & the reservoir of hosts that allowed disease to flourish. It's this sort of linking causes & effects that is one of the strengths of the book. It's also well-illustrated, with a generous 38 woodcuts, Punch cartoons, etc, in its relatively few pages. It's hardly a must have book, whatever your interest in the subject, but it's certainly an entertaining introduction to the subject even if, like me, you're likely to delve no deeper!