The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present / Edition 1

The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present / Edition 1

4.5 6
by Roy Porter
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0393319806

ISBN-13: 9780393319804

Pub. Date: 10/28/1999

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

"To combine enormous knowledge with a delightful style and a highly idiosyncratic point of view is Roy Porter's special gift, and it makes [this] book . . . alive and fascinating and provocative on every page."—Oliver Sacks, M.D.
Hailed as "a remarkable achievement" (Boston Sunday Globe) and as "a triumph: simultaneously entertaining and instructive,

Overview

"To combine enormous knowledge with a delightful style and a highly idiosyncratic point of view is Roy Porter's special gift, and it makes [this] book . . . alive and fascinating and provocative on every page."—Oliver Sacks, M.D.
Hailed as "a remarkable achievement" (Boston Sunday Globe) and as "a triumph: simultaneously entertaining and instructive, witty and thought-provoking . . . a splendid and thoroughly engrossing book" (Los Angeles Times), Roy Porter's charting of the history of medicine affords us an opportunity as never before to assess its culture and science and its costs and benefits to mankind. Porter explores medicine's evolution against the backdrop of the wider religious, scientific, philosophical, and political beliefs of the culture in which it develops, covering ground from the diseases of the hunter-gatherers to today's threat of AIDS and ebola, from the clearly defined conviction of the Hippocratic oath to the muddy ethical dilemmas of modern-day medicine. Offering up a treasure trove of historical surprises along the way, this book "has instantly become the standard single-volume work in its field" (The Lancet). "The author's perceptiveness is, as usual, scalpel-sharp; his manner genially bedside; his erudition invigorating." - Simon Schama

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393319804
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Series:
Norton History of Science Series
Pages:
872
Sales rank:
199,442
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

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The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
A_Sloan More than 1 year ago
Remeber the days of pulverised crocodile dung... During my time studying medicine I constantly found myself skipping between books, unable to locate all the historical information I was seeking in one volume. Would that I had "The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" back then! It seems that Roy Porter's students had the same issue which is what inspired the teacher-turned-author to write this book. Porter's historical account of medicine and healing is fascinating and delves deep to reveal how people's attitudes toward medicine has changed over the years, including the big breakthroughs. While the book covers a global history, it is primarily European - which is explained by the fact that "Western medicine has developed in ways which made it uniquely powerful and... uniquely global." Sounds a bit like the power of imperialism... The book is a refreshing read and is certainly anything but boring. His tone is comical, engaging, enlightening, and that of a lecturer all at once. Porter has structured his work perfectly and the chapter titles give you the option to quickly look up what you need to know if you're in a hurry. Perfect if you're a student! If you are simply interested in medical history this is a must-read, but be sure to also look at Sexuality: An Illustrated History.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Porter's book "The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" is a great resource for understanding medical history. It places famous historical actors in their contexts, and it explains generally trends expertly. This is the kind of book that it's good to take notes while reading, especially if you don't know most of the names beforehand. However, it has helped me more than any other medical history in understanding how medicine changed, what role historical actors had in that change, and where the medicine of today came from. I highly recommend to anyone interested in the subject.
ScotsmanWB More than 1 year ago
This is a well-written book with little bits of humor to make it especially enjoyable. It is a full history of western medicine and tells also of the traditions of China and India. The author offers some comment about the situation of medicine in society at this time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This books got it all in the history of medicine. I ended up reading it like a text book also gathering the facts that I associated with not-so common knowledge. I also found it easier to read while reading other books, I couldn't focus all of my attention on it because it's so thorough it's prosaic at times. As with the earlier review(s) the book is better used for it's early chapters than it's synopsis of contemporary medicine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The conversion to electronic format was very poorly done. If you can't hire human editors, at least run spell check over the text. Many of these clusters of letters are not even words. This badly undermines the value of an otherwise useful book. Readers who want to know what the author actually wrote should buy the print version instead. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago