The Greatest Benefit to Mankind

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9780006374541: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind

Set to become the standard work on the history of medicine, this book is also a treasure trove of historical surprises. Roy Porter shows how lemons did as much as Nelson to defeat Napoleon and how African slaves became immune to malaria.

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Samuel Johnson once called the medical profession "the greatest benefit to mankind." In the 20th century, the quality of that benefit has improved more and more rapidly than at any other comparable time in history. With all the capabilities of modern medicine's practicioners, however, we as a people are as worried about our health as ever.

Roy Porter, a social historian of medicine the London's Wellcome Institute, has written an dauntingly thick history of how medical thinking and practice has risen to the challenges of disease through the centuries. But delve into its pages, and you'll find one marvelous bit of history after another. The obvious highlights are touched upon--Hippocrates introduces his oath, Pasteur homogenizes, Jonas Salk produces the polio vaccine, and so on--but there's also Dr. Francis Willis's curing of The Madness of King George, W. T. G. Morton's hucksterish use of ether in surgery, and research on digestion conducted using a man with a stomach fistula (if you don't know what that means, you may not want to know). Porter is straightforward about his deliberate focus on Western medical traditions, citing their predominant influence on global medicine, and with The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, he has produced a volume worthy of that tradition's legacy.

From the Publisher:

"The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" was shortlisted for the 1998 National Book Critics Circle General Nonfiction Award.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day.Medicine is advancing at an incredible rate. We now have the ability to overcome sickness but also to transform the nature of life itself: in many parts of the world, human existence has simply ceased to be `nasty, brutish and short . In this titanic history of medicine and disease, Roy Porter examines the traditions of East and West to chart how this revolution has come about.Covering medical milestones big and small - from dissection to surgery and from anaesthesia to AIDS - Roy Porter s masterpiece is both a superlative history of medicine and a sweeping survey of human life and death. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006374541

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UK ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day.Medicine is advancing at an incredible rate. We now have the ability to overcome sickness but also to transform the nature of life itself: in many parts of the world, human existence has simply ceased to be `nasty, brutish and short . In this titanic history of medicine and disease, Roy Porter examines the traditions of East and West to chart how this revolution has come about.Covering medical milestones big and small - from dissection to surgery and from anaesthesia to AIDS - Roy Porter s masterpiece is both a superlative history of medicine and a sweeping survey of human life and death. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780006374541

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity, Roy Porter, A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day. Medicine is advancing at an incredible rate. We now have the ability to overcome sickness but also to transform the nature of life itself: in many parts of the world, human existence has simply ceased to be 'nasty, brutish and short'. In this titanic history of medicine and disease, Roy Porter examines the traditions of East and West to chart how this revolution has come about. Covering medical milestones big and small - from dissection to surgery and from anaesthesia to AIDS - Roy Porter's masterpiece is both a superlative history of medicine and a sweeping survey of human life and death. Bookseller Inventory # B9780006374541

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