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A not so distant mirror

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7207.0 (Published 14 August 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:0

In Barbara Tuchman's powerful history of the 14th century, A Distant Mirror— a story of plague, war, brigandage, bad government, insurrection, and schism—she quotes the Swiss historian J C L S de Sismondi, who summarised the century as, simply, “a bad time for humanity.” Although life for many BMJ readers is comfortable, historians looking back on this century will probably say the same, and some reasons why are found in this week's issue. It makes sombre reading.

As Jennifer Leaning outlines in her editorial, international humanitarian …

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