THE GREATEST BENEFIT TO MANKIND

A MEDICAL HISTORY OF HUMANITY

A learned, lively history of medicine “from Stone Age to New Age, from Galen to Gallo.— Unable to find a modern, readable, one-volume history of medicine for his students, Porter (A Social History of Madness, 1988, etc.), of London’s Wellcome Institute for the History of Science, has filled that gap admirably with this fascinating survey of medical theory and practice through the centuries. While he looks at medicine in early societies, and Islamic, Indian, and Chinese medicine, his focus is on Western medicine, which he finds uniquely powerful and now uniquely global. He explores its foundations in ancient Greece and Rome, the impact of the new science of the Renaissance, and the initial failure of biomedical findings to deliver effective new therapies. The accomplishments of individuals are here—Harvey, Koch, Pasteur, Lister, Freud., etc.—but Porter does not tell history simply through great men. The influence of French hospitals on medical education; how German laboratories created a new pathology, physiology, and pharmacology; the development of specialization; public health measures; medicine’s role in the expansion of imperial powers—all are included. In stylish prose, he paints a panoramic picture filled with memorable anecdotes, apt quotes, startling statistics, and sobering conclusions. At intervals he returns to specific topics, such as treatment of the insane, to demonstrate the shifts taking place in both social attitudes and medical practice. Approaching modern times, Porter reports on the great strides made in biomedical research, paying special attention to neurology, endocrinology, cancer, cardiology, genetics, and immunology. In his closing chapters, he turns to the politics of contemporary medicine, examining the changing relationship between the state and medicine and between medicine and the people. Never before, he notes, has medicine achieved so much nor attracted such great suspicion. With its triumphs “dissolving in disorientation,” medicine, warns Porter, must now redefine its limits. Thoroughly impressive—merits a broad lay readership in addition to med students. (40 illustrations)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-393-04634-6

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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