The Discovery of Insulin




“The Discovery of Insulin” by Michael Bliss has to be considered the definitive word on the trials and tribulations on the discovery of insulin.

I’d say, even this day, if you ask most folks who won the Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin, I believe that the most common answer still is Banting and Best, not Banting and Macleod. Never mind even knowing who Collip was.

The book edition I read was the 2007 updating of “The Discovery of Insulin” where Dr Bliss not only answers his first edition critics, but also expands and discusses ever so briefly what’s new in diabetes research.

I wouldn’t categorize this book as an “easy” read, but it is a highly fascinating account of the ideas behind insulin research and just how devastating the disease was before the discovery of insulin.

Given the fist fights, decent, misunderstandings, glory-hogging, research mistakes, and just plain meanness of some of the participants, it amazes me that the discovery was even made, but it was, and I, for one, as a diabetic, am glad for it.

Consider “Bittersweet” by Chris Feudtner as a companion volume, concentrating as much on the discovery of insulin as much as the patients and other participants.

I wouldn’t categorize this book as an ‘easy’ read, but it is an unflinching historical narrative of dreams, results and life.

Rating added 28 September 2014: 5/5 Stars

(Originally published on Live Journal: Serenade in Blue blog on 28 April 2010)

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