Medical Firsts

Medical Firsts: From Hippocrates to the Human Genome

© 2004 Robert Adler
232 pages
A little over a year ago, I read Science Firsts, a fairly enjoyable book that prepared me well for a summer focusing on the history of science and was pick of the week in its time. I wanted to read more from the author, but I had no access to this book, which is identical in approach and different in topic. Like Science Firsts, this book consists of a dozen chapters, each written on a particular innovation or novel approach in the field. The ideas are varied: the first chapter concerns Hippocrates’ patient-centered approach to medicine, another addresses the discovery of viral diseases, another is on the development of the Pill, and so on. Most of the innovations have a specific thinker attached, and so most of the book reads like Profiles in Medical History. The later chapters — concerning topics like the worldwide coordinated effort to destroy smallpox and the human genome project — focus more on the thing itself rather than the person driving the change. The personality-centered theme of the book isn’t necessarily a weakness: these men and women are worth honoring. (I don’t think I’d ever heard of Abu Bakr Al-Razi, but I’m glad I have now. According to Adler, he was a man of the Enlightenment before his time.) The chapters read well: I don’t think you have to be scientifically literate to enjoy them and learn something, and indeed I think the book is aimed for more casual readers.
Related Books:

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
This entry was posted in Reviews, science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s