Post Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.98
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 49%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $14.98   
  • New (5) from $22.76   
  • Used (7) from $14.98   


Their lives changed history. Their deaths were mysteries, until now! Post-Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, FACP, examines the controversial lives and deaths of 12 famous men and women. Post-Mortem answers vexing questions such as: *Was Alexander the Great a victim of West Nile virus? *What caused the gruesome final illness of King Herod? *Was Joan of Arc mentally ill during her heresy trial? *Could syphillis have made Beethoven deaf? *Did Edgar Allan Poe drink himself to death? This new book also investigates the mysterious deaths of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Greek statesman and general Pericles, the Roman Emperor Claudius, Christopher Columbus, Mozart, Florence Nightingale, and Booker T. Washington. Post-Mortem traces 3,500 years of medical history from the perspective of what contemporary physicians thought about the diseases of their renowned patients and how they might have treated them. It follows the case history format of today's clinical pathologic conferences, describing the characteristics of the illnesses in question, and bringing to life the medical history, social history, family history, and physical examination of their famous victims. Post-Mortem then sifts through the medical evidence, testing a wide range of diagnostic theories against the known facts and today's best scientific research, to arrive at the diagnosis most consistent with the illness described in the historic record. Post-Mortem was inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Mackowiak is director of medical care at the VA Maryland Health Care System and professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students and graduate physici

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Suzanne M Shultz, MA (York Hospital)
Description: The clinicopathological conference (CPC) is a problem-based learning experience. A physician-expert is provided with the details of a difficult case and, after sifting through the evidence, the expert and the audience offer a learned interpretation of the facts and posit a diagnostic solution. This book is a collection of historical CPCs spanning time and space from ancient Egypt to 20th century Alabama.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to present the medical cases of 12 famous individuals about whom there are ambiguous historical interpretations of their last illness and death. A host of experts (acknowledged in the preface) provide significant details of the patient's history so that the most accurate medical history possible can be constructed, thus rendering a fact-based retrospective diagnosis.
Audience: This book crosses many disciplines and has wide appeal. It is written with enough medical detail to be of interest to medical professionals, yet simply enough to appeal to general readers. It has sufficient detail to engage a clinician and enough biographical information to delight a historian, with enough twists to satisfy a mystery enthusiast.
Features: Arranged in 12 chapters headed by very creative, yet ultimately quite descriptive titles, this book features medical case histories of famous persons whose illness and death have been shadowed in ambiguity. Each chapter contains a clinical summary of the patient's illness, relevant past medical history, family and social history, and description of the physical examination or manifestation of the puzzling case. Photographs, portraits, drawings, maps, timelines, and even a copy of a death certificate add to the patient's portrayal. Copious references and end notes attest to the excellent historic research from which today's clinicians draw their conclusions.
Assessment: The author says, "Post Mortem does not close the book on questions surrounding the twelve medical mysteries considered. Rather, it opens the book at a new page, based on the most comprehensive and objective medical histories compiled to date." Medical journal literature occasionally contains a single paper on the illness and death of famous individuals, but rarely does a compilation of well written cases such as this surface. This is a gem!
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930513891
  • Publisher: American College of Physicians
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 695,675
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)