A scholarly look at the drugs in common use today and how they were discovered and developed. No ""how-to"" book to be used as an easy, quick guide to medications, this is a book to peruse if one is seriously interested in the subject for its own sake. The author (chemistry/Virginia) traces drugs from their earliest beginnings, which date back to man's earliest beginnings and the discovery of alcohol, tobacco, and other plants that produced a feeling of euphoria or were found to treat sickness. After a discussion of how modern drugs evolved from those of primitive times, the book examines various drug groups (those used for cancer, infectious diseases, pain relief, etc.) and how they work in the body. A final chapter discusses peoples' attitudes toward drugs and advocates a realistic, common-sense approach to using medications. Without beating any drums for the pharmaceutical industry, Burger's book does give the reader some inkling of the difficulties in creating and producing drugs and the strides that have been made in modern medicine through this scientific work. Definitely not an easy read. The profusion of scientific chemical names and procedures is sometimes mind-boggling. Nevertheless, perseverance pays off in this worthwhile reference.