Physicians, Plagues and Progress

The History of Western medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics


ISBN: 9780745970394 Categories: ,

ISBN: 9780745970394

Publication date: April 20, 2018

Format: Paperback

Extent: 544 pages

Dimensions: 198mm(length) 130mm(width)

Imprint: Lion Books

In Stock.

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.

Meet the author: Dr Allan Chapman

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).

Reviews for Physicians, Plagues and Progress

"Using clarity of structure and a warm, engaging style, Allan Chapman brings us an elegant and accessible new introduction to the history of Western medicine." - Caroline Rance

"This is medical history for the layman - and very good it is, too. Chapman's coverage is, as we have come to expect, comprehensive, covering everything that has contributed to the knowledge and treatment of physical and mental disorders. Highly recommended." - Derek Wilson

"This thoroughly enjoyable book provides a comprehensive and highly compelling account of the way in which the pioneers of western medicine have, with equal measures of luck and judgement, driven its development from what was once no more than glorified sorcery to its current place as an established cutting edge science." - Dr Simon Atkins

"This is a fascinating and comprehensive tour of the history of medicine and health care from prehistory to the modern world. This detailed overview of thousands of years of medical history is constantly brought to life through fascinating and arresting examples. It also reveals the complex interaction of different religious and scientific concepts and outlooks across time, and the role of technological advance in making progress possible. In each stage of the development of medical practice we are led to see how it interacted with the wider social context of the time and the mind-sets of those involved. Fast-paced, insightful and engaging." - Martyn Whittock

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