Intended for healthcare professionals

Medicine And Books

The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity From Antiquity to the Present

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 28 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:713
  1. Benjamin Hope
  1. medical student, University College London

    Roy Porter Harper Collins, £24.99, pp 831 ISBN 0 00215173 1

    Before I read this, my knowledge of medical history could be summed up in a few sentences. I knew that the medical-industrial complex had become a victim of its own success and that until quite recently doctors could not do much. I had an idea about their professional status, without knowing how that privilege was won and protected. I knew that doctors demand autonomy, but that collectively they make a wonderful political football. Someone had told me that Pasteur discovered vaccination; someone else that it was Turkish folk medicine.

    Roy Porter's book gave me the chance to flesh out my paltry analysis. Here was …

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