The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity

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9780006374541: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity

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.

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Review:

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 practitioners, however, we as a people are as worried about our health as ever.

Roy Porter, a social historian of medicine at London's Wellcome Institute, has written a 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 marvellous piece of history after another. The obvious highlights are touched upon--Hippocrates introduces his oath, Pasteur homogenises, Jonas Salk produces the polio vaccine and so on--but there's also Dr. Francis Willis' curing of the madness of King George III, W.T.G. Morton's aggressive 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.

Review:

‘A superb book – fluent, lucid, scary and even funny…essential reading.’ Sunday Times

‘Magnificently erudite and compellingly humane.’ New Statesman (Books of the Year)

‘Yet another compulsively readable, astonishingly encyclopaedic book from Roy Porter…his best to date: an epic, one-volume narrative history of man’s struggle with the infirmities of his body, from Aesculapius to AIDS.’ Simon Schama

‘Whether you are interested in the advent of the stethoscope, the history of yellow fever, the bubonic plague or, closer to home, coronary heart disease, the feminist influence on medicine, drug abuse, childbearing or cancer, this book provides the historic background to these and other medical questions…”The Greatest Benefit to Mankind” is a first-class introduction to medical history. Like a well constructed broadsheet leader, it excites thought and discussion, as well as providing many answers.’ The Times

‘Hypochondriac heaven – a gripping, scholarly, fact-packed, must-have book.’ Daily Mail

‘A monumental work… magnificent.’ Independent on Sunday

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 232 x 144 mm. 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. 232 x 144 mm. 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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Book Description 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 153mm x 234mm x 51mm. Paperback. Medicine advances ever faster, and with it not just a capacity to overcome sickness, but to transform the very nature of life. Starting in ancient times, this text charts how this health r.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 848 pages. 0.960. Bookseller Inventory # 9780006374541

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Book Description Fontana Press, 1999. Book Condition: New. 1999. Paperback. A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day. Num Pages: 848 pages, 24 b&w plates. BIC Classification: MBX. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 232 x 155 x 51. Weight in Grams: 978. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780006374541

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