A Brief History of Disease, Science and Medicine
by Michael T. Kennedy, MD, FACS
The title of the book sums it up nicely: this is a book full of medical anecdotes presented in very short chapters.
Dr. Kennedy starts from when the caveman first stubbed his toe, chronicling the history and medicine that went along with it. Not being an actual history major (and only taking those history courses in college necessary to complete my degree – nothing more), I found the history just as interesting as the medical history.
I managed to miss this tidbit the first time, but the old 1950s TV show “Medic” took its tag line from John Halle who in 1560 described the properties of a surgeon as “a heart of a lion, the eyes like the eye of a hawk, and his hands as the hands of a woman.”
Anyway, back to the book. Despite not being an historian, I really enjoyed the ancient history of Medicine and was very happy to see that Dr. Kennedy didn’t give short shrift to the non-Western Medical advances. If nothing else, this book is worth reading just for that.
Dr. Kennedy’s writing is very approachable. I had a great time reading the book during lunchtime and the chapters were perfect for short bursts of reading.
I originally gave this book 4/5 stars. It really should be 4.5/5 stars, but 4/5 is a good, solid rating. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a broad overview of Medical history and in some respects, this book would appeal to the historians in the audience as well. I think I learned just as much general history as I did medical history.
My next book is also from my library, “Doctors and Discoveries: Lives That Created Today’s Medicine.”
(Review first published 21 September 2014)