This is the story of man's 3,000 year fight against pain. But more than that, it is the philosophical account of how he has looked on both the causes and needs of pain from era to era, and how he is still not free of certain superstitions about pain. The author tells us of the primitive fight against pain by witch doctors and sorcerers---yet reminds us these same men could inflict pain on victims by psychological means. He tells us next of the physicians and healers of the ancient world, and of their search for anesthetics, drugs, and crude surgical methods. But just at the time the Greeks and Romans were finding new cures, the Dark Ages closed over the growth of healing. With the Middle Ages and Renaissance we see its return, although many healers were hindered by superstitious witchhunters. Finally we see the sciences of anesthesia, narcotics, and other pain fighrers come into their own in modern times, along with explanations of the nervous system and why pain occurs in the first place. Possibilities of new operating techniques are discussed. A readable, popular, very informative resume of medical and psychological history.