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Bodies Politic: Disease, Death and Doctors in Britain, 1650-1900

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 18 August 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:405
  1. Eoin O'Brien, professor of cardiovascular medicine
  1. Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

    Roy Porter

    Reaktion Books, £25, pp 328

    ISBN 1 86189 094 X

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    This book comes well announced: “… splendid book … a tonic to those dismayed by the current writing-down of English history” (Sunday Telegraph); “… exhilarating” (Sunday Times); “simply superb” (New Statesman). This should be enough not only to whet the reviewer's appetite but also to bias opinion. And yet my reaction at the end of an enjoyable read is one of disappointment, disappointment that a magnificent opportunity to do justice to an immense and unique labour of historiography has been squandered. Let me explain.

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    Roy …

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