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The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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"The Medical Book" begins with the very first milestone in medicine (circa 10,000 B.C.) with the "Witch Doctor" on page 16. One would have assumed that shamans, medicine men, etc. were the genesis of the prehistoric healing arts, and this seems to be the case. They were the earliest practitioners to utilize the "Placebo Effect" (page 404). And one can only hope that Stone Age witch doctors were more conscientious than the jokers who concocted a famous potion in the U.S. (circa 1890) known as Hamlin's Wizard Oil (page 294). This alleged cure-all contained alcohol, camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine.Read more ›
There is a progression in the scope of the subject matter covered in each of the three books. The Math Book, which is first in the series, covers a universe of abstract mathematical constructs while only occasionally touching on the physical world, e.g., the entry on the Bedsheet Problem. The Physics Book deals with the reality of space and time from the very large to the very small, beginning with the Big Bang and ending with the death of our Universe. The Medical Book takes us on a more personal journey. It starts with investigations of human anatomy, progresses through the discovery of the disease carriers, and eventually takes us on an exploration of the ever smaller: cells, bacteria, viruses, and DNA.
Pickover's genius lies in his ability to combine scientific explanation with thought-provoking images.Read more ›
What sets "The Medical Book" apart from the other two, and from others in its class, is that Dr. Pickover selects entries that show not only how the technical field has advanced, as his subtitle states, "From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons," but also how fundamental knowledge of the body has transformed to evolve medicine from a craft of reputation to a practice building on a scientific understanding of the body.
We're left with page after page of beautiful images that stoke the imagination. Dr. Pickover obviously loves to teach on each of the mysteries he presents, first visually, as shown by the pictures he carefully selects, and then masterfully and concisely, matching each with a single page explanation. Even the seemingly simple story of the discovery of vitamins provokes excitement with stories from the sea and scurvy matched with vivid color micrographs of vitamin C crystals.
This book puts the work and efforts of doctors, nurses, medical students, and all health care professionals in an appropriately deep and meaningful context. It's the perfect source for those who want to become oriented not only to the practice, but to the history and future of medicine. We should all look forward to the continuing positive trajectory Dr. Pickover has laid out with each new entrant into the medical field.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book. I got it at a library but I will buy a copy and recommend it to many people. Clifford Pickover is a Renaissance man and a brilliant person. Read morePublished 2 months ago by doug korty
Well written, very brief one page synopsis of each subject, It is a good biopsy of many significant players in medical history. Read morePublished 4 months ago by tdavis
My spouse purchased this book for me for Christmas 2014. Since it’s edging towards Christmas 2015, I thought it was time that I reviewed this book. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Allyson M. W. Dyar
I enjoyed this book. Author Clifford Pickover summarizes 250 milestones in the study of medicine. He freely admits that the list is somewhat subjective because he could not include... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Steve G