The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (The Norton History of Science)

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 17, 1999 - Family & Relationships - 831 pages
14 Reviews

"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
 

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Review: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity

User Review  - Joseph Boquiren - Goodreads

Plainly written for the layperson yet dense and multilyared. What was especially interesting for me was how Islamic medical practice advanced the knowledge of medical science in the West. Read full review

Review: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

A compelling perspective on the history of medicine from pre-Antiquity to (almost) the present day. It really brought home to me how rapid the rise of medicine has been over the past 60-70 years and ... Read full review

Contents

The Roots of Medicine
14
Antiquity
44
Medicine and Faith
83
The Medieval West
106
Indian Medicine
135
Chinese Medicine
147
Renaissance
163
The New Science
201
Scientific Medicine in the Nineteenth Century
304
NineteenthCentury Medical Care
348
Public Medicine
397
FURTHER READING
719
INDEX
765
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About the author (1999)

The late Roy Porter was professor of the history of medicine at University College, London. His books include The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

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