This is a book about the stress mechanism, a physiological response of the body which helps it deal with damage or protects it from the effects of injury. Beginning with a history of its discovery by Dr. Hans Selye, an endocrinologist looking for a new female hormone, the book examines this new theory which has so stimulated medical research. Medicine's knowledge of the stress response is important not only in enlarging man's understanding of disease but also his concept of the nature of life itself. The stress response helps the body fight disease and can sometimes produce temporary remissions of otherwise incurable diseases. But it does not always operate the way it should and when this happens the body reacts by becoming ill -- ulcers, heart attacks, hypertension, allergies, arthritis -- there is practically no illness in which stress does not play a part. Knowledge of the stress response has brought about many new methods of treating illness, both mental and physical. Stress also, however, adds to the enjoyment of life, for without it boredom sets in. It is important to find a personal stress level and to use the stress response as a positive factor, not to allow its negative side effects to be harmful. The book is a clear and readable presentation of one of the most fascinating of modern medical discoveries. Dr. Selye himself writes the foreword and there is a glossary of scientific terms used.