The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine / Edition 1

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Overview

Against the backdrop of unprecedented concern for the future of health care, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine surveys the rise of medicine in the West from classical times to the present. Covering both the social and scientific history of medicine, this lavishly illustrated volume traces the chronology of key developments and events, while at the same time engaging with the issues, discoveries, and controversies that have beset and characterized medical progress. The authors weave a narrative that connects disease, doctors, primary care, surgery, the rise of hospitals, drug treatment and pharmacology, mental illness and psychiatry. This volume emphasizes the crucial developments of the past 150 years, but also examines classical, medieval, and Islamic and East Asian medicine. Authoritative and accessible, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine is for readers wanting a lively and informative introduction to medical history. Roy Porter is professor of the social history of medicine at the Wellcome Insitute for the History of Science. He has written or edited numerous books about the history of medicine, including Western Medical Tradition (with L. Conrad, Cambridge, 1995), Drugs and Narcotics in History (with M. Teich, Cambridge, 1995), The Greatest Benefit to Mankind (Norton, 1999), and The Creation of the Modern World (Norton, 2000).

The book contains predominantly black-and-white illustrations, with some color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

David J. Rothman
This book, edited by the distinguished English historian Roy Porter, is a lavishly presented and clearly narrated account of the major transformations that mark the rise and course of western scientific medicine. It is intended to present a survey of western medicine. Written for the educated layman rather than the professional historian or well-read physician, the book covers a wide range of subjects, including the history of modern diseases (especially contagious diseases), medical pioneers, and therapeutic discoveries. The opening chapters on the history of disease and the rise of medicine devote substantial attention to the ancient period; subsequent chapters are more thematic in approach, addressing such issues as the rise of the hospital and its links to surgery, mental illness, and health care policy. Although there are frequent references to American and continental developments, not surprisingly, English events are at the heart of these pages. Although the introduction promises that this history of medicine will not be a standard celebration of medical progress and how medical technology pushed back the frontiers of death, the anticipation is not fulfilled. Roy Porter aptly observes that medicine's many successes have brought it substantial criticism from the public; indeed, ""medicine may appear to be losing its way."" But the chapters themselves, with only a few exceptions, devote most of their attention to stories of conquest, not to the root causes of the contemporary discomfort with the profession. Moreover, the thematic quality of the chapters, many of them tracing their subject matter from pre-modern to contemporary times, leaves readers without a secure sense oflinks among the parts and without a firm grasp of an overall chronology. These points notwithstanding, there is a mine of information here, all of it accessible to the reader, and the pictorial accompaniments to the text are superb. To browse through the pages is both enjoyable and rewarding. A physician or patient who wants a responsible and handsome survey of the field will be very pleased to have this book.
School Library Journal
YAArranged thematically, this resource traces the evolution of the constantly changing realm of medicine and makes parallels with other events of the era. Each essay is written by an expert in the field. While there are several references to the bubonic plague (although only under "plague, bubonic" and "black death"), there are no entries for medicine during the Civil War. The Ebola virus is mentioned in the chronology, but it is not discussed within the text. While the concentration is on traditional Western medicine, some alternative forms such as homeopathy and acupuncture are included. Boxed inserts cover related events or diseases. The numerous illustrations and photographs are precisely captioned. In addition to the page citation, the helpful glossary gives the birth and death dates for medical personalities, as well as their nationality and medical specialty.Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
From The Critics
The aim of this textbook is to set the major changes of the practice of medicine in their historical context. Authors trace the tradition as it arose out of Ancient Greece, examine the transformations stimulated by the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, and consider the advances of the 19th century. Further topics include drug treatment and the rise of pharmacology; mental illness; medicine, society, and the state; and future trends. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Reviewer: David J. Rothman, PhD (Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons)
Description: This book, edited by the distinguished English historian Roy Porter, is a lavishly presented and clearly narrated account of the major transformations that mark the rise and course of western scientific medicine.
Purpose: It is intended to present a survey of western medicine.
Audience: Written for the educated layman rather than the professional historian or well-read physician, the book covers a wide range of subjects, including the history of modern diseases (especially contagious diseases), medical pioneers, and therapeutic discoveries.
Features: The opening chapters on the history of disease and the rise of medicine devote substantial attention to the ancient period; subsequent chapters are more thematic in approach, addressing such issues as the rise of the hospital and its links to surgery, mental illness, and health care policy. Although there are frequent references to American and continental developments, not surprisingly, English events are at the heart of these pages. Although the introduction promises that this history of medicine will not be a standard celebration of medical progress and how medical technology pushed back the frontiers of death, the anticipation is not fulfilled. Roy Porter aptly observes that medicine's many successes have brought it substantial criticism from the public; indeed, "medicine may appear to be losing its way." But the chapters themselves, with only a few exceptions, devote most of their attention to stories of conquest, not to the root causes of the contemporary discomfort with the profession. Moreover, the thematic quality of the chapters, many of them tracing their subject matter from pre-modern to contemporary times, leaves readers without a secure sense of links among the parts and without a firm grasp of an overall chronology.
Assessment: These points notwithstanding, there is a mine of information here, all of it accessible to the reader, and the pictorial accompaniments to the text are superb. To browse through the pages is both enjoyable and rewarding. A physician or patient who wants a responsible and handsome survey of the field will be very pleased to have this book.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521002523
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Series: Cambridge Illustrated Histories Series
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 7.99 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy Porter is Professor in the Social History of Medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, and has taught previously at the University of Cambridge and at UCLA. Among his many influential books in the field are Mind Forg'd Manacles: Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency; A Social History of Madness; Health for Sale: Quackery in England, 1660-1850; Doctor of Society: Thomas Beddoes and the Sick Trade in Late Enlightenment England; London: A Social History; and (co-authored with Dorothy Porter) In Sickness and in Health: the British Experience, 1650-1850 and Patient's Progress.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The history of disease Kenneth F. Kiple; 2. The rise of medicine Vivian Nutton; 3. What is disease? Roy Porter; 4. Primary care Edward Shorter; 5. Medical science Roy Porter; 6. Hospitals and surgery Roy Porter; 7. Drug treatment and the rise in pharmacology Miles Weatherall; 8. Mental illness Roy Porter; 9. Medicine, society, and the state John Pickstone; 10. Looking to the future Geoff Watts; Reference guide: Chronology; Major human diseases; Notes; Further reading; Index of medical personalities; General index; Picture acknowledgements.

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