This is a ""Must Book"" on the basis of its adoption as dark horse choice for the September Literary Guild, which will launch it with more fanfare that it might otherwise have had. BUT -- primarily it is listed as under this heading, because it is a sound piece of scholarship on a dramatic subject, the history of anesthesia, vigorously handled. It should ring the bell.... The author traces the history of anesthesia from medieval days, when howling medicine men, quacks and sorcerers practised every kind of charlatanism to relieve suffering. From witchery to lchemy to mesmerism -- and finally to chemistry which opens the portals of modern medicine. A hostile public defeated the efforts of Priestley and Davy; Faraday cursorily dismissed the value of ether; finally, in America, after a struggle against blind resistance, lay and medical, three doctors contend for the honors. Dr. Long of Georgia used ether effectively, but abandoned it at popular demand; Dr. Jackson, who suggested its use to the third, Dr. Morton, a young Boston dentist. And to Morton's career half the book is given, an absorbing story. The book ends with the subject brought up to date -- morphine, cocaine, twilight sleep, avertin and their role in medicine today. This should appeal to that voracious public which demands more and more books on popularized medicine, from Devils, Drugs and Doctors, on.