A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day.
Medicine is advancing at an incredible rate. We now have the ability to overcome sickness but also to transform the nature of life itself: in many parts of the world, human existence has simply ceased to be `nasty, brutish and short'. In this titanic history of medicine and disease, Roy Porter examines the traditions of East and West to chart how this revolution has come about.
Covering medical milestones big and small - from dissection to surgery and from anaesthesia to AIDS - Roy Porter's masterpiece is both a superlative history of medicine and a sweeping survey of human life and death.
`A superb book - fluent, lucid, scary and even funny...essential reading.' Sunday Times
`Magnificently erudite and compellingly humane.' New Statesman (Books of the Year)
`Yet another compulsively readable, astonishingly encyclopaedic book from Roy Porter...his best to date: an epic, one-volume narrative history of man's struggle with the infirmities of his body, from Aesculapius to AIDS.' Simon Schama
`Whether you are interested in the advent of the stethoscope, the history of yellow fever, the bubonic plague or, closer to home, coronary heart disease, the feminist influence on medicine, drug abuse, childbearing or cancer, this book provides the historic background to these and other medical questions..."The Greatest Benefit to Mankind" is a first-class introduction to medical history. Like a well constructed broadsheet leader, it excites thought and discussion, as well as providing many answers.' The Times
`Hypochondriac heaven - a gripping, scholarly, fact-packed, must-have book.' Daily Mail
`A monumental work... magnificent.' Independent on Sunday
Roy Porter is Professor of the Social History of Medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. He is the editor of the Fontana History of Science series, and the author of over sixty-five books, including the acclaimed bestseller `London: A Social History'. His book on the history of madness in England, `Mind Forg'd Manacles', won the Leo Gershoy Prize.