Written by members of the Academic Unit of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, the world's leading centre for the history of medicine, this book surveys the Western medical tradition in all its aspects from the Greeks until 1800 AD, and in its transformations and transplantations into the world of Islam and the Americas. As well as describing the diseases, medical theories, and medical therapies of the past, it places them in a wide social context, and discusses religious and alternative healing as well as major advances in medicine, surgery. and pharmacology. It includes the accounts of patients as well as of their healers, the pains of childbirth and the preparations for death. Although major figures are covered in detail, this is not a history of great men and great moments in medicine, but an attempt to understand the limitations as well as the triumphs of medicine in pre-modern society. The very latest findings of medical historians are here presented in a lively form accessible to all who are interested in the formation of modern ideas on health and healing. The book provides essential reading as a new synthesis for all students of the history of medicine.
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