A popular history of medicine extracting all the picturesque details for morbid modern tastes: black death, white death, grey creeping death--plague, syphilis, and TB tell gory stories of their conquests. More horror than remedy, early medicine's delusions play a small role against these grisly antagonists, and the author's suggestions that history was written by medicine is more accurately a case of history undone by it. The pageant continues with the discovery of antiseptic techniques and other anesthesia; the early errors--purges, clysters, bleeding--and the later aberrations of mystique and quackery--Mesmerism, homeopathy--captivated their own cults of faith-followers. The actual medical pioneers are lightly mentioned--Koch, Pare, Lister, although Vesalius, Roentgen, and Freud each receive a chapter's due. The style is as medieval as the plague, revelling in the dramatics of disease and death. If our Blue Cross is paid, this spectacular with its casts of thousands (of misfortunates) can make us grateful for modern medicine. As for the ""march"" of medicine, this German M.D. would have us think it was really a Totentanz but then aberrations always make good reading. Historical horror tales with an adequate twist of advancing knowledge.