Saturday, April 14, 2007
#24. Blood and Guts - Roy Porter

Description from
In the really old days, people didn't require much medicine because they didn't get sick. Lives were cut short by starvation or acts of violence by man or beast. Once humans started farming, domesticating animals, and settling into communities, infectious disease cropped up and begged for medical intervention. And that's where prolific medical historian Porter picks up the trail of Western medical history. He explains how humanity's evolutionary story parallels the evolution of pathogens, and how survival of the fittest translates into survival by those who can develop resistance to disease. In addition, for those who haven't developed such resistance, there have always been sorcerers, shamans, healers, priests, and doctors--hypocritical or Hippocratic--whose development Porter traces from the kindly person who prayed at a sick person's bedside to today's high-tech, bureaucratic professional, who seems to jeopardize the personal touch Hippocrates prescribed. Porter weaves together these stories; histories of the human body, the laboratory, therapies, surgery, and the hospital; and plenty of anecdotes and illustrations with an easy, informal writing style.


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