- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (22 Jun. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192803557
- ISBN-13: 978-0192803559
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2 x 13.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,172,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates Hardcover – 22 Jun 2006
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A sad but fascinating story of centuries of missed opportunities, unnecessary suffering and misplaced faith in outlandish remedies. (Nick Rennison, Sunday Times Culture)
The historical catastrophe of medicine has never been so excitingly and stirringly told. (Druin Birch, Times Literary Supplement)
David Wotton [creates] a genuinely thrilling adventure out of the abysmal failings of doctors over the past 2000 years. (Druin Birch, Times Literary Supplement)
A very stimulating and thought-provoking book. (Theodore Dalrymple, Sunday Telegraph)
Ought to be required reading for every first year medical student. (British Medical Journal)
lucid, elegantly written and pleasingly slim book (Will Cohu, Sunday Telegraph)
About the Author
David Wootton is Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York. He has published widely in early modern intellectual history, particularly on the history of political thought, and is a regular reviewer for the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is not a bash at doctors, but does lay out the history and progression of medicine in a new and fresh way. When I was reading it I spent time laughing and time feeling quite repulsed by some of the things that we have done in the name of medicine.
All I can say is READ it!
Wootton begins with an entertaining (albeit at times depressing) narrative of the Hippocratic (Greek) Tradition, based on the now out-of-date humoural theory: the body was delicately balanced between the four humours of bile, black bile, blood and phlegm, and diseases were caused by a disturbance of the humoural balance or a corruption of a humour (so-called peccant humour). The way this would happen would be via an influx of the unnaturals such as diet and the environment. As a result, to restore the balance and/or 'fix' the corrupted humour, since all four humours were found in the blood, bloodletting was the obvious (although not the only) solution. Bloodletting, well into the nineteenth, was widely perceived and practiced as the 'gold standard' for medical therapy. This could be done either by the practitioner himself or via the application of leeches (particularly popular method in France).
Wootton's writing style serves as an excellent example to both historians and philosophers: short, concise, clear and engaging sentences which are structured around the period or argument presented.
Whilst medicine changed structurally (patient-doctor relationship, location of treatment etc) modern medical theory does not really begin to take off until well into the nineteenth century. According to Wootton, medicine did not really start helping patients consistently until the 1860s.Read more ›
I re-red it several times and I recommend it to anyone interested in the medicine, true stories and history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really interesting book, and offers a new perspective on the fallacy of appeal to tradition that underpins so much quackery.Published 8 months ago by Guy Chapman
interesting material but needed editing as he repeats himself a lot. Certainly makes you appreciate living in today's times as far as medicine goes.Published on 5 Feb. 2014 by Maddave