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Post-Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1930513891
ISBN-10: 1930513895
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Fascinating... An enjoyable read. --New England Journal of Medicine

Rarely does a compilations of well written cases such as this surface. This is a gem! --5 stars - Doody's

About the Author

Dr. Philip A. Mackowiak is director of medical care at the VA Maryland Health Care System and professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has taught the art of clinical diagnosis to medical students and graduate physicians for over three decades. Post Mortem was inspired by the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference hosted by Dr. Mackowiak since 1995 for the VA Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: The American College of Physicians; 1st edition (April 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930513895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930513891
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca D. Gold on August 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book hoping for the kind of in-depth medical research and analysis that I enjoy reading. I was not disappointed. Each chapter is very thorough and detailed in its description and analysis of the "patient" and their condition. I can't state that the author has solved all these mysteries, but that's not what made this book enjoyable. It was the quality of medical information and the very scientific look at the lives of these historical figures. The details of their illnesses bring them to light as human beings rather than just figures of history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always been fascinated by the health issues affecting great men and women throughout the ages, not only because I am a doctor myself, but oftentimes illnesses can dominate someone's life and alter the course of events. For example, how much did Beethoven's deafness affect his music ? It can be argued that he was able to break the mold of the classical tradition and bring in the Romantic period because he could no longer hear and had to compose in his head, thus freeing him from the restrictions of the physical world. Others could achieve greatness due to sheer quirks of their birth (it can be argued that great athletes are born, not created through training, especially for endurance sports) or other factors to do with their health. Somebody speculated that Monet painted the way he did later in life due to his failing eyesight, and was not a deliberate attempt to achieve an "impressionistic" effect. Renoir's rheumatoid arthritis probably also affected the way he painted.
Prof. Mackowiak did a great job collecting historical evidence to back up his conjectures when he attempted to diagnose the health problems affecting these illustrious men and women. He gave riveting accounts of the suffering they went through, and very detailed analyses of the signs and symptoms culminating in the most probable diagnosis. The author had a gift for story-telling, but he was equally at home in explaining complex medical and scientific matters in ways that lay people can easily understand.
For me, this book (and the later volume) was a great review of areas of general medicine that I no longer involve with day-to-day, and would otherwise have little reason to read up on (especially in the form of dry academic review papers or book chapters).
It is a must-read for students of medicine and history buffs.
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Format: Hardcover
...I enjoyed this book immensely. The author is a fabulous story teller, and makes his cases convincingly. This book is for anyone who likes history and CSI
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By red on November 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is ok. Does get a bit to technical but very informing. Let's you read the differing opinions and form your own conclusions. Once you get into the different theories you have multiply sources to draw from, as you read the author' opinion, you can agree or form your own conclusions. Very interesting read.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr Mackowiak, aside from being an astute clinician, has written a book that is an addition to the medical history body of literature that is readable by both laypersons and those in the medical field alike.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great read, especially for medical professionals who want a refresher on diagnostics. Dr. Mackowiak has nicely summarized the clinical histories of 12 famous dead people, using the format of a clinical pathological conference. His details about the differential diagnosis for each person is tremendous review of common and not-so-common illnesses, reminding us that the 'history' is the most important part of the H&P. It was an entertaining and educational refresher for me and should be for any physician.
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