REVOLUTIONARY DOCTOR: A Portrait of Benjamin Rush by Carl Binger

REVOLUTIONARY DOCTOR: A Portrait of Benjamin Rush

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The different phases of Benjamin Rush's career and his various auto-biographical writings and letters have been the subject of fairly steady scholarly attention in the years since Goodman's 1934 biographical appraisal of this eighteenth-century medical scientist, ""do-gooder,"" and friend of more prominent founders of the new republic. Dr. Binger's thorough study has taken intelligent advantage of this added material and criticism; the fact that the book is written by a doctor about a doctor also adds interest, especially in the discussion of Rush's scientific theories which ranged from blood-letting as the cure of yellow fever and horseback riding for consumption, to a recognition of psychosomatic illness and the claim that drunkenness ought to be treated as a disease. Rush, ""the first American psychiatrist, "" is an interesting figure for historians of both the social and medical sciences, but if Dr. Binger is correct in saving that the old Philadelphian had ""extraordinary personal magnetism"" and ""unequalled personal charm,"" the point goes unproved in this solid and comprehensive biography.

Publisher: Norton