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The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanityby Roy Porter
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as "a remarkable achievement" () and as "a triumph: simultaneously entertaining and instructive, witty and thought-provoking . . . a splendid and thoroughly engrossing book" (), 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 author's perceptiveness is, as usual, scalpel-sharp; his manner genially bedside; his erudition invigorating." - Simon Schama
"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.
Porter's charting of the history of medicine affords readers the opportunity as never before to assess its culture and science and its costs and benefits to humankind. "A splendid and thoroughly engrossing book."--"L.A. Times." of illustrations.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 719-764) and index.
About the Author
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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