The Alarming History of Medicine
January 2, 2008 § 2 Comments
Using hilarious stories, based on actual facts, Richard Gordon shows that most of the monumental discoveries [in medicine] were originally accidents.
The Alarming History… is basically a history book of medicine written to inform, but primarily to entertain. In many ways it resembles Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It focuses as much on the personalities behind different medical breakthroughs as the breakthroughs themselves. Like who really discovered penicillin and who got the honor for it.Writing about the history of medicine by theme and not chronologically, Gordon manages to get some good points across. Especially how religion, social hierarchy and politics has held back medical research and hindered the implementing of new discoveries.
He had found the specific remedy , with no notion how it worked, to a disease for which nobody remotely knew the reason.
I wouldn’t recommend The Alarming History… as a first book about medical history, but it’s a very entertaining and interesting supplement to other books, offering a critical and often sarcastic view on much celebrated discoveries and events in the history of medicine.
It will remind you, as Voltaire put it, that:
(…) doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into human beings of which they know nothing.