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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Victor E. Valli, DVM, MSc, PhD (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This first edition work has no real parallel, although in quality and content, it is like "the healing hand, man, and wound in the ancient world" by Guido Majno. This sturdily constructed book is profusely illustrated with color figures. A foreword by Dean Franklin Loew aptly describes the book as a "whale of an achievement."
Purpose: The goals are to provide information on the roots, genesis, and development of the veterinary profession for students of this profession and to educate all others who have a special interest in this area through ownership or caring for animals. These are worthy goals that are addressed with a sincere respect for the sanctity of animal life and the recognition of the special relationship between humans and animals that began in antiquity.
Audience: The book is written for students of veterinary medicine, who should find the book fascinating if they ever have time to read it. The book should be read by veterinary educators who could enliven and liberalize their teaching with it. For those who love books as well as animals, this work is a rare treasure. The approach to the history of veterinary medicine is as authoritative and encyclopedic as it is possible to achieve in single text. The work is not only informative in presenting a written record but also contains some original and interesting insights.
Features: The book first deals with prehistory and animal cave art through domestication of animals and the roots of the profession in ancient civilizations. It then moves through the Dark Ages and the the cattle plagues that lead to the development of formal veterinary education. It discusses the development of medicine in the broad sense in the modern era, defining the contributions of veterinary medicine to current knowledge. The book is catholic in its approach and global in its perspective.
Assessment: The book belongs in veterinary libraries and, because their various disciplines have their roots in the history of the profession, the book will appeal to academicians and practitioners alike. In terms of its quality and the importance of animals for both food and companions, the book has broad application and should serve to provide information and pleasure for nonprofessionals who own or care for animals. The authors are distinguished in their fields, and the book represents a unique collaboration between a veterinary educator and a medical illustrator with an interest in the history of art in medicine.