Views & Reviews Medical classics


BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:539
  1. Robert Bud, principle curator of medicine, Science Museum, London
  1. r.bud{at}

    Arrowsmith has a claim to be the greatest ever novel about medical research. Writing at the very beginning of a revolution in medicine that would yield a generation of powerful drugs, Sinclair Lewis evokes the past, present, and future of the profession, all through the career of Dr Martin Arrowsmith. Informed by Lewis's friend, the ex-Rockefeller Institute scientist Paul De Kruif, the book is based on real characters and actual institutions. It is a cutting satire, but beneath the wit is a powerful call to recognise science as the source of both truth and health. Numerous scientists …

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