An optimistic, laudatory look at the major medical advances of the last hundred years. Shorter (Bedside Manners, 1985; etc.) paints the grim picture of the late 1800's: ""doctors could diagnose disease but not cure it. . ."" He then looks at where we have come from there, using the story of penicillin as a case in point, and goes on to describe the development of vaccines; our increased understanding of molecular science (and hence DNA, immunology, and AIDS); psychiatry, from psychoanalysis to biological psychiatry; and looks at cancer, heart disease, and some new technologies. This companion volume to the PBS TV series tends to the glib conclusion: ""We today know enough about AIDS to feel sure that some kind of therapy or vaccine is not far away."" Shorter is a real cheerleader: ""In the battle against this latest terrible epidemic, these men and women in the Public Health Service are keeping alive the traditions of the microbe hunters."" Not a critical history by any means, then--more a congratulatory summary.