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Physicians, Plagues and Progress The History of Western medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics Allan Chapman

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21 Oct 2016
Electronic book text
608 pages:


Since the dawn of time, man has sought to improve his health and that of his neighbour. The human race, around the world, has been on a long and complex journey, seeking to find out how our bodies work, and what heals them. Embarking on a four-thousand-year odyssey, science historian Allan Chapman brings to life the origin and development of medicine and surgery. Writing with pace and rigorous accuracy, he investigates how we have battled against injury and disease, and provides a gripping and highly readable account of the various victories and discoveries along the way. Drawing on sources from across Europe and beyond, Chapman discusses the huge contributions to medicine made by the Greeks, the Romans, the early medieval Arabs, and above all by Western Christendom, looking at how experiment, discovery, and improving technology impact upon one another to produce progress. This is a fascinating, insightful read, enlivened with many colourful characters and memorable stories of inspired experimenters, theatrical surgeons, student pranks, body-snatchers, 'mad-doctors', quacks, and charitable benefactors.
Dr Allan Chapman is a historian of science at Oxford University, with special interests in the history of astronomy and of medicine and the relationship between science and Christianity. As well as University teaching, he lectures widely, has written a dozen books and numerous academic articles, and written and presented two TV series, Gods in the Sky and Great Scientists, besides taking part in many other history of science TV documentaries and in The Sky at Night with Sir Patrick Moore. He has received honorary doctorates and awards from the Universities of Central Lancashire, Salford, and Lancaster, and in 2015 was presented with the Jackson-Gwilt Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society. Among his books are Slaying the Dragons. Destroying Myths in the History of Science and Faith (Lion Hudson, 2013), Stargazers: Copernicus, Galileo, the Telescope, and the Church. The Astronomical Renaissance, 1500-1700 (Lion, 2014), and Physicians, Plagues, and Progress. The History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics (Lion, 2016). He is also the author of the scientific biographies England's Leonardo. Robert Hooke and the Seventeenth-Century Scientific Revolution (Institute of Physics, 2005), Mary Somerville and the World of Science (Canopus, 2004; Springer, 2015), and The Victorian Amateur Astronomer. Independent Astronomical Research in Britain, 1820-1920 (Wiley-Praxis, 1998; revised edn. Gracewing, 2017).

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