Preserve your Love for Science: Life of William A Hammond, American Neurologist

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Overview

In this full-length biography of a major nineteenth century American medical personality, Bonnie Ellen Blustein shows how William A. Hammond, M.D. developed his specialty practice in neurology as a vehicle through which to pursue broad scientific interests within the limits set by the solo-practitioner structure of the medicine of his day. Hammond (1828-1900) was one of the most successful American physicians of the nineteenth century. He was first recognized as a natural history collector and as an original investigator in physiological chemistry, winning international respect for experiments performed as an Army surgeon in Kansas Territory in the 1850s. As the new surgeon general of the United States Army, Hammond took charge in 1862 of the sweeping reorganization of the Medical Department along lines of centralization and efficiency. Hammond then established himself in private practice in New York as an exclusive specialist in neurology, one of the first in the country. Over the next decades, clinical neurology not only made him a rich man, but also proved to be the forum for the most sustained expression of his scientific interests. The scientific study of the nervous system would, Hammond expected, provide the key to psychology and even social problems such as the woman question. He wrote extensively on such issues in medical journals, in the popular press, and in a series of novels. Hammond's scientific work serves to illuminate the impact of social context on the scientific content of mid-nineteenth century American medicine.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a zesty biography...." Choice

"This excellent book clearly portrays a complex and dynamic person whose multifaceted career illustrates medical practice in 19th-century America." Frank R. Freemon, JAMA

"...a meticulous and excellent account of Hammond's life and has well documented the many societal forces, in addition to Hammond's efforts, that contributed to the development of neurology....a fine resource and will be of great interest to neurologists and historians concerned with the evolution of the practice of neurology." Richard Satran, Journal of the History of Medicine

"...the passionate pursuit of science as an intellectual activity and the entrepreneurial deployment of science as a competitive tool in the marketplace have remained to a striking extent the subjects of separate narratives. Bonnie Blustein deftly shows in this biography of William Hammond (1828-1900) the complex ways these two historical stories might be intercalated....an important book for understanding the shifting place of science in late nineteenth-century medicine." John Harley Warner, ISIS

"...a meticulously documented and highly readable biography that stands as the definitive study." Pascal James Imperato, New York State Journal of Medicine

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; 2. 'I can make any post interesting'; 3. 'The first original physiologist in the United States'; 4. 'The best friend the soldier has'; 5. 'Foggy with embarrassments'; 6. 'A New York medical man'; 7. 'A laborious and skilful observer'; 8. 'So great her science'; 9. 'Systems of cures and wonderful remedies'; 10. 'A positive mental science'; 11. 'All men are insane'; 12. 'I said that I would be back'; 13. 'Very near being a great man'; Notes; Note on sources; Bibliography of William Alexander Hammond, M. D.; Index.
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