“A Brief History of Medicine: from Hippocrates to Gene Therapy”
By Paul Strathern
Among the many histories of medicine, Paul Strathern’s narrative stands out for its lively prose and colorful portraits of figures who broke with dogma and proved new paradigms. Even the expert reader will find much that is novel and nuanced, not only in stories about prominent characters like Galen and Harvey, but less well known individuals like the Venerable Bede, an English monk who revived Greek and Roman knowledge during the Dark Ages, and Al-Razi, an Islamic scholar who challenged Aristotle’s prevailing notions with experimental data and showed that pediatric disorders need not be viewed as untreatable and hopeless. Each chapter offers a rich tableau depicting advances in medical thinking based on astute observation and rigorous induction. Strathern brilliantly succeeds in both educating and entertaining his reader, a perfect blend for a summer treat.
— Dr. Jerome Groopman, New Yorker staff writer and author; Recanati Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School