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Learn all about the history of medicine with Book People's hand-picked selection. We have the best medical history books available for anyone with an interest in medicine.

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History of Medicine Books

  • Medieval Bodies

    Jack Hartnell

    Product Code: BUHXN
    Paperback
    A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR Just like us, medieval men and women worried about growing old, got blisters and indigestion, fell in love and had children. And yet their lives were full of miraculous and richly metaphorical experiences radically different to our own, unfolding in a world where deadly wounds might be healed overnight by divine intervention, or the heart of a king, plucked from his corpse, could be held aloft as a powerful symbol of political rule. In this richly-illustrated and unusual history, Jack Hartnell uncovers the fascinating ways in which people thought about, explored and experienced their physical selves in the Middle Ages, from Constantinople to Cairo and Canterbury. Unfolding like a medieval pageant, and filled with saints, soldiers, caliphs, queens, monks and monstrous beasts, it throws light on the medieval body from head to toe - revealing the surprisingly sophisticated medical knowledge of the time in the process. Bringing together medicine, art, music, politics, philosophy and social history, there is no better guide to what life was really like for the men and women who lived and died in the Middle Ages. Medieval Bodies is published in association with Wellcome Collection.
    • £10.39
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  • Medicine

    DK

    Product Code: AUTYW
    Hardback
    Medicine tells the fascinating history of medicine through the ages to the present day. Follow the greatest stories of medicine and its breakthroughs, with incredible coverage of disease, drugs, treatment, and cures. Medicine covers the gory pitfalls and miraculous breakthroughs of medical history from trepanning, bloodletting, and body snatching to brand new developments in IVF and gene therapy with compelling stories and stunning illustrations. Clear diagrams explain major diseases such as cancer, and trace the progression of medical treatment through the centuries, from ancient healers and herbalists to scurvy and smallpox, and the World Wars to modern psychiatry. Perfect for adults and students alike, and anyone interested in the fascinating medical history of the world, Medicine is the definitive visual history of our health.
    • £15.89
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  • The History of Medicine

    William F. Bynum

    Product Code: AHHDK
    Paperback
    Against the backdrop of unprecedented concern for the future of health care, this Very Short Introduction surveys the history of medicine from classical times to the present. Focussing on the key turning points in the history of Western medicine, such as the advent of hospitals and the rise of experimental medicine, Bill Bynum offers insights into medicine's past, while at the same time engaging with contemporary issues, discoveries, and controversies. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
    • £7.89
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  • Medicine

    Natasha Mcenroe

    Product Code: CDHMW
    Hardback
    In Autumn 2019 a spectacular suite of new Medicine galleries is due to open at the Science Museum in London, representing the biggest and most ambitious project that the Museum has ever undertaken. This permanent exhibition will include the historic collection of Henry Wellcome, whose personal treasure trove has been on long-term loan to the Museum for over 40 years, as well as the Science Museum's own medical holdings. Medicine: An Imperfect Science is formed of stand-alone but connected chapters, generously illustrated, within which a rich history of medicine collecting can be found.
    • £36.00
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  • How The Brain Lost Its Mind

    Allan Ropper

    Product Code: CCYWQ
    Hardback
    In 1882, Jean-Martin Charcot was the premiere physician in Paris, having just established a neurology clinic at the infamous Salpetriere Hospital, a place that was called a 'grand asylum of human misery'. Assessing the dismal conditions, he quickly upgraded the facilities, and in doing so, revolutionized the treatment of mental illness. Many of Charcot's patients had neurosyphilis (the advanced form of syphilis), a disease of mad poets, novelists, painters, and musicians, and a driving force behind the overflow of patients in Europe's asylums. A sexually transmitted disease, it is known as 'the great imitator' since its symptoms resemble those of almost any biological disease or mental illness. It is also the perfect lens through which to peel back the layers to better understand the brain and the mind. Yet, Charcot's work took a bizarre turn when he brought mesmerism - hypnotism - into his clinic, abandoning his pursuit of the biological basis of illness in favour of the far sexier and theatrical treatment of female 'hysterics', whose symptoms mimic those seen in brain disease, but were elusive in origin. This and a general fear of contagion set the stage for Sigmund Freud, whose seductive theory, Freudian analysis, brought sex and hysteria onto the psychiatrist couch, leaving the brain behind. How The Brain Lost Its Mind tells this rich and compelling story, and raises a host of philosophical and practical questions. Are we any closer to understanding the difference between a sick mind and a sick brain? The real issue remains: where should neurology and psychiatry converge to explore not just the brain, but the nature of the human psyche?
    • £14.39
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  • Why Talk About Madness?

    Catharine Coleborne

    Product Code: CCXIS
    Paperback
    This short book argues for the relevance of historical perspectives on mental health, exploring how these histories can and should inform debates about mental healthcare today. Why is it important to study the history of madness? What does it mean to voice these histories? What can these tell us about the challenges and legacies of mental health care across the world today? Offering an intervention into new ways of thinking - and talking - about 'mad' history, Catharine Coleborne explores the social and cultural impact of the history of the mad movement, self-help and mental health consumer advocacy from the 1960s inside a longer tradition of 'writing madness'. Starting with a brief history of the relevance of first-person accounts, then looking at the significance of other ways of representing the psychiatric 'patient', 'survivor' or 'consumer' over time, this book aims to escape from dominant modes of writing about the asylum.
    • £18.99
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  • Captive Artists

    Meg Parkes

    Product Code: CDOPS
    Paperback
    Risking harsh retribution, including beatings, further privations, and at the very least confiscation, Far East prisoners of war (FEPOW) were still determined to provide the world with visual accounts of their brutal existence. Doing so was strictly forbidden, so their art had to be done on whatever scraps of paper or other materials they could beg, steal or borrow, and their paints and tools were ingeniously acquired or home made. Captive Artists brings together for the first time this secret art, created by over 65 previously unrecognised artists, all British servicemen, who documented survival during Far East captivity. In colour, pencil, pen and ink, even needle and thread and clay, this uncompromising and at times challenging collection illustrates both the importance of art as therapy, and the resilience of the human spirit. Humorous cartoons, caricatures and portraits bring the men to life. Glorious watercolours of landscapes, local flora and fauna, camp life and medical ingenuity poignantly reveal how the men lived and survived in the face of such deprivation and despair. Survival, and the artists' need to record it in myriad ways, underpins this unique collection of unseen Second World War art. Not only is the art often of an astonishingly high standard, it is also a sobering but vital portrayal of man's inhumanity to man. * Published to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day (Victory in Japan) in 2020 * The only book that really conveys in both a visual and verbal way just what it was like living through the nightmare of captivity in the Far East * Exhibition in Philip Mould Gallery in Pall Mall in February 2020
    • £16.00
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  • Edith and Florence Stoney, Sisters in Radiology

    Adrian Thomas

    Product Code: CCIGS
    Hardback
    This book explores the lives and achievements of two Irish sisters, Edith and Florence Stoney, who pioneered the use of new electromedical technologies, especially X-rays but also ultraviolet radiation and diathermy. In addition, the narrative follows several intertwined themes as experienced by the sisters during their lifetimes. Their upbringing, influenced by their liberal-minded scientist father, set the tone for both their lives. Irish independence fractured their family heritage. Their professional experiences, fulfilling for Florence as a qualified doctor but often frustrating for Edith as a Cambridge-educated scientist, mirrored those of other aspiring women during this period, when the suffragist movement expanded and women's lobby groups were formed. World War I created an environment in which their unusual specialist knowledge was widely needed, and the sisters' war experiences are carefully examined in the book. But ultimately this is the extraordinary story of two independent but closely bonded sisters and their abiding love and support for one another.
  • The Collectors of Lost Souls

    Warwick Anderson (Professorial

    Product Code: CCDKL
    Paperback
    Winner, William H. Welch Medal, American Association for the History of MedicineWinner, Ludwik Fleck Prize, Society for Social Studies of ScienceWinner, General History Award, New South Wales Premier's History Awards When whites first encountered the Fore people in the isolated highlands of colonial New Guinea during the 1940s and 1950s, they found a people in the grip of a bizarre epidemic. Women and children succumbed to muscle weakness, uncontrollable tremors, and lack of coordination, until death inevitably supervened. Facing extinction, the Fore attributed their unique and terrifying affliction to a particularly malign form of sorcery. In The Collectors of Lost Souls, Warwick Anderson tells the story of the resilience of the Fore through this devastating plague, their transformation into modern people, and their compelling attraction for a throng of eccentric and adventurous scientists and anthropologists. Battling competing scientists and the colonial authorities, the brilliant and troubled American doctor D. Carleton Gajdusek determined that the cause of the epidemic-kuru-was a new and mysterious agent of infection, which he called a slow virus (now called a prion). Anthropologists and epidemiologists soon realized that the Fore practice of eating their loved ones after death had spread the slow virus. Though the Fore were never convinced, Gajdusek received the Nobel Prize for his discovery. Now revised and updated, the book includes an extensive new afterword that situates its impact within the fields of science and technology studies and the history of science. Additionally, the author now reflects on his long engagement with the scientists and the people afflicted, describing what has happened to them since the end of kuru. This astonishing story links first-contact encounters in New Guinea with laboratory experiments in Bethesda, Maryland; sorcery with science; cannibalism with compassion; and slow viruses with infectious proteins, reshaping our understanding of what it means to do science.
  • Madness: A Biography

    Paul Fallon

    Product Code: CCDID
    Paperback
    This exciting new book explores the history of major mental disorders by looking at a wide range of historical and contemporary figures that have experienced mental illness. It discusses changing perceptions of mental illness and the treatments used at different historical periods from antiquity to the present day via the biographical sketches.
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  • The Pursuit of Parenthood

    Margaret Marsh (Rutgers, The S

    Product Code: CCDGH
    Hardback
    Since the 1978 birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in England, more than eight million children have been born with the help of assisted reproductive technologies. From the start, they have stirred controversy and raised profound questions: Should there be limits to the lengths to which people can go to make their idea of family a reality? Who should pay for treatment? How can we ensure the ethical use of these technologies? And what can be done to address the racial and economic disparities in access to care that enable some to have children while others go without? In The Pursuit of Parenthood, historian Margaret Marsh and gynecologist Wanda Ronner seek to answer these challenging questions. Bringing their unique expertise in gender history and women's health to the subject, Marsh and Ronner examine the unprecedented means-liberating for some and deeply unsettling for others-by which families can now be created. Beginning with the early efforts to create embryos outside a woman's body and ending with such new developments as mitochondrial replacement techniques and uterus transplants, the authors assess the impact of contemporary reproductive technology in the United States. In this volume, we meet the scientists and physicians who have developed these technologies and the women and men who have used them. Along the way, the book dispels a number of fertility myths, offers policy recommendations that are intended to bring clarity and judgment to this complicated medical history, and reveals why the United States is still known as the "Wild West" of reproductive medicine.
  • The Crisis of US Hospice Care

    Harold Braswell (Assistant Pro

    Product Code: CBHEB
    Hardback
    Hospice is the dominant form of end-of-life care in the United States. But while the US hospice system provides many forms of treatment that are beneficial to dying people and their families, it does not encompass what is commonly referred to as long-term care, which includes help with the activities of daily living: feeding, bathing, general safety, and routine hygienic maintenance. Frequently, such care is carried out by an informal network of unpaid caregivers, such as the person's family or loved ones, who are often ill-prepared to offer this type of support. In The Crisis of US Hospice Care, Harold Braswell argues that the stress of providing long-term care typically overwhelms family members and that overdependence on familial caregiving constitutes a crisis of US hospice care that limits the freedom of dying people. Arguing for the need to focus on the time just before death, Braswell examines how the relationship of hospice to familial caregiving evolved. He traces the history of hospice over the past fifty years and describes the choice that people dying with inadequate familial support face between a neglectful home environment and an impersonal nursing home. A nuanced look at the personal and political dimensions that shape long-term, end-of-life care, this historical and ethnographic study demonstrates that the crisis in US hospice care can be alleviated only by establishing the centrality of hospice to American freedom. Providing a model for the transformative work that is required going forward, The Crisis of US Hospice Care illustrates the potential of hospice for facilitating a new way of living our last days and for having the best death possible.
  • A History of Women in Medicine

    Sinead Spearing

    Product Code: CBKKZ
    Paperback
    Witch' is a powerful word with humble origins. Once used to describe an ancient British tribe known for its unique class of female physicians and priestesses, it grew into something grotesque, diabolical and dangerous. A History of Women in Medicine: From Physicians to Witches? reveals the untold story of forgotten female physicians, their lives, practices and subsequent demonisation as witches. Originally held in high esteem in their communities, these women used herbs and ancient psychological processes to relieve the suffering of their patients. Often travelling long distances, moving from village to village, their medical and spiritual knowledge blended the boundaries between physician and priest. These ancient healers were the antithesis of the witch figure of today; instead they were knowledgeable therapists commanding respect, gratitude and high social status. In this pioneering work, Sinead Spearing draws on current archeological evidence, literature, folklore, case studies and original religious documentation to bring to life these forgotten healers. By doing so she exposes the elaborate conspiracy conceived by the Church to corrupt them in the eyes of the world. Turning these women from benevolent therapists into the embodiment of evil required a fabricated theology to ensure those who collected medicinal herbs or practiced healing, would be viewed by society as dealing with the devil. From this diabolical association, female healers could then be labeled witches and be justly tortured and tried in the ensuing hysteria known today as the European witch craze.
    • £10.39
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  • Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers

    Jessica Wang (Univ of British

    Product Code: CBGSR
    Hardback
    Rabies enjoys a fearsome and lurid reputation. Throughout the decades of spiraling growth that defined New York City from the 1840s to the 1910s, the bone-chilling cry of "Mad dog!" possessed the power to upend the ordinary routines and rhythms of urban life. In Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers, Jessica Wang examines the history of this rare but dreaded affliction during a time of rapid urbanization. Focusing on a transformative era in medicine, politics, and urban society, Wang uses rabies to survey urban social geography, the place of domesticated animals in the nineteenth-century city, and the world of American medicine. Rabies, she demonstrates, provides an ideal vehicle for exploring physicians' ideas about therapeutics, disease pathology, and the body as well as the global flows of knowledge and therapeutics. Beyond the medical realm, the disease also illuminates the cultural fears and political contestations that evolved in lockstep with New York City's burgeoning cityscape. Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers offers lay readers and specialists alike the opportunity to contemplate a tumultuous domain of people, animals, and disease against a backdrop of urban growth, medical advancement, and social upheaval. The result is a probing history of medicine that details the social world of New York physicians, their ideas about a rare and perplexing disorder, and the struggles of an ever-changing, ever-challenging urban society.
  • Combat Medicine Operations Manual

    Penny Starns

    Product Code: CAZET
    Hardback
    Since the discovery and widespread use of penicillin in the Second World War, which was a major turning point in 20th century combat medicine, there have been enormous changes in surgical and nursing techniques enabling frontline medical teams to save soldiers' lives and alleviate suffering on the battlefield. The Korean War saw the first use of helicopters to airlift wounded troops to medical facilities away from the front line, while the Falklands War, both Gulf Wars and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan have been characterised by the introduction of new surgical procedures using image intensifiers and a trend towards laser treatments. Dr Penny Starns gives a detailed and insightful account of battlefield medicine from Korea to Afghanistan.
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  • Poison

    Ben Hubbard

    Product Code: CAVRU
    Hardback
    Chronologically recounting the story of history's silent assassin, Poison documents the gripping tales of the users and victims of these mysterious substances, from Cleopatra, the Borgias and Qin Shi Huang to contemporary secret service agents and terrorists. Profiles of the most commonly used toxins of each era reveal how the power-hungry, the dangerous and the desperate have harnessed these natural killers to achieve their ends. Poisoning is a dark art as old as human history itself. The Roman emperors used poison liberally to dispose of rivals, guests at Renaissance dinner parties were quietly assassinated with adulterated wine, and professional poisoners equipped murderous wives with toxic tonics for their husbands. In twentieth-century warfare, poisonous substances were used in new and awful ways to terrorize and obliterate both civilians and enemy forces. Today, in the search for the perfect covert weapon, shadowy figures deploy pernicious poisons which are almost impossible to trace. They are only the latest in a long line of experimenters: for the same poisons used to kill or injure others have been used throughout history as intoxicants, aphrodisiacs and even elixirs of life. As every amateur toxicologist knows, the difference between a poison and medicine is often simply the dose.
    • £16.00
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  • Just the Tonic

    Kim Walker

    Product Code: CAVJI
    Hardback
    Just the Tonic is an accessible yet informative history of tonic water: its connections to the major disease malaria, the cure discovered in the bitter bark of the cinchona tree and its constituent alkaloid quinine. It is a history deeply intertwined with botanical exploration and empire in the Victorian era, and the role of botanical gardens such as Kew.
    • £14.40
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  • Paracelsus

    Bruce T. Moran

    Product Code: BZQPY
    Hardback
    Throughout his controversial life the alchemist, physician and social radical known as Paracelsus combined traditions that were magical and empirical, scholarly and folk, learned and artisanal. He read ancient texts and then burned some of them. He endorsed both Catholic and Reformation beliefs, but believed devoutly in a female deity. He travelled constantly, learning and teaching a new form of medicine based on the experience of miners, bathers, alchemists, midwives, barber-surgeons and executioners. He argued for changes in the way the body was understood, how disease was defined and how treatments were created, but he was also moved by mystical speculations, an alchemical view of nature and an intriguing concept of creation. Bruce T. Moran tells the story of how alchemy refashioned medical practice, and brings to light the ideas, workings and major texts of an important Renaissance figure, showing how his tenacity and endurance changed the medical world for the better, and brought new perspectives to the study of nature.
    • £12.76
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  • The Royal Art of Poison

    Eleanor Herman

    Product Code: BZHZM
    Paperback
    The story of poison is the story of power... For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family's spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots. Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with lead. Men rubbed feces on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don't see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines. The Royal Art of Poison is a hugely entertaining work of popular history that traces the use of poison as a political - and cosmetic - tool in the royal courts of Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Kremlin today.
    • £7.99
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  • Bedlam

    Paul Chambers

    Product Code: BYZAG
    Paperback
    Bethlem Hospital is the oldest mental institution in the world, but to many it is famous only as `Bedlam', a chaotic madhouse that brutalised its patients. This book explores the 800-year history of Bethlem and reveals fascinating details of its ambivalent relationship with London and Londoners, the life and times of the hospital's more famous patients, and the rise of a powerful reform movement which forced the government to take the issue of Bedlam seriously. Paul Chambers brings the whole story of Bethlem Hospital to a new audience, charting its well-intended beginnings to its final disgrace and reform.
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  • Migraine

    Katherine Foxhall

    Product Code: BYAZX
    Paperback
    For centuries, people have talked of a powerful bodily disorder called migraine, which currently affects about a billion people around the world. Yet until now, the rich history of this condition has barely been told. In Migraine, award-winning historian Katherine Foxhall reveals the ideas and methods that ordinary people and medical professionals have used to describe, explain, and treat migraine since the Middle Ages. Touching on classical theories of humoral disturbance and medieval bloodletting, Foxhall also describes early modern herbal remedies, the emergence of neurology, and evolving practices of therapeutic experimentation. Throughout the book, Foxhall persuasively argues that our current knowledge of migraine's neurobiology is founded on a centuries-long social, cultural, and medical history. This history, she demonstrates, continues to profoundly shape our knowledge of this complicated disease, our attitudes toward people who have migraine, and the sometimes drastic measures that we take to address pain. Migraine is an intimate look at how cultural attitudes and therapeutic practices have changed radically in response to medical and pharmaceutical developments. Foxhall draws on a wealth of previously unexamined sources, including medieval manuscripts, early-modern recipe books, professional medical journals, hospital case notes, newspaper advertisements, private diaries, consultation letters, artworks, poetry, and YouTube videos. Deeply researched and beautifully written, this fascinating and accessible study of one of our most common, disabling-and yet often dismissed-disorders will appeal to physicians, historians, scholars in medical humanities, and people living with migraine alike.
  • Superbugs

    Matt McCarthy (Physician)

    Product Code: BXZXH
    Paperback
    Drug-resistant bacteria - known as superbugs - are one of the biggest medical threats of our time. Here, a doctor, researcher, and ethics professor tells the exhilarating story of his race to beat them and save countless lives. When doctor Matt McCarthy first meets Jackson, a mechanic from Queens, it is in the ER, where he has come for treatment for an infected gunshot wound. Usually, antibiotics would be prescribed, but Jackson's infection is one of a growing number of superbugs, bacteria that have built up resistance to known drugs. He only has one option, and if that doesn't work he may lose his leg or even his life. On the same day, McCarthy and his mentor Tom Walsh begin work on a groundbreaking clinical trial for a new antibiotic they believe will eradicate certain kinds of superbugs and demonstrate to Big Pharma that investment in these drugs can save millions of lives and prove financially viable. But there are seemingly endless hoops to jump through before they can begin administering the drug to patients, and for people like Jackson time is in short supply. Superbugs is a compelling tale of medical ingenuity. From the muddy trenches of the First World War, where Alexander Fleming searched for a cure for soldiers with infected wounds, to breakthroughs in antibiotics and antifungals today that could revolutionise how infections are treated, McCarthy takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the history - and future - of medicine. Along the way, we meet patients like Remy, a teenage girl with a dangerous and rare infection; Donny, a retired firefighter with a compromised immune system; and Bill, the author's own father-in-law, who contracts a deadly staph infection. And we learn about the ethics of medical research: why potentially life-saving treatments are often delayed for years to protect patients from exploitation. Can McCarthy get his trial approved and underway in time to save the lives of his countless patients infected with deadly bacteria, who have otherwise lost all hope?
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  • Heart: A History

    Sandeep Jauhar

    Product Code: BXZPB
    Paperback
    `Jauhar weaves his own personal and family story into his history of the heart...very effectively... This gives a certain dramatic tension to the book, as it tells the fascinating and rather wonderful history of cardiology.' -Henry Marsh, New Statesman A Mail on Sunday Book of the Year The heart lies at the centre of life. For cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar it is an obsession. In this fascinating history he interweaves gripping scenes from the operating theatre with the moving tale of his family's history of heart problems - from the death of his grandfather to the ominous signs of how he himself might die. Jauhar looks at the pioneers who risked patients' lives and their own careers, and confronts the limits of medical technology, arguing that how we live is more important than any device or drug we may invent. Heart is the all-encompassing story of the engine of life.
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  • Frankie

    James Essinger

    Product Code: BXXOR
    Paperback
    Thalidomide: patented in Germany as a non-toxic cure-all for sleeplessness and morning sickness; a wonder drug with no side effects. The devastation this drug caused is boundless, the unborn victims of its neurotoxins left with deformities and without limbs, sometimes never to be born at all. In the UK, it took hundreds of foetal deaths and abnormalities to lead to the drug's withdrawal, but in the US one woman stood in the way of Big Phrama and prevented catastrophe. bn Here James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenko explore the devastating world history of thalidomide, its development, proliferation and its victims' stories. Above all, they reveal the fascinating battle between Frances Kelley, newcomer to the FDA, and Big Pharma's Richardson-Merrell, as she sought to block the drug's introduction. A medical officer and scientist, Frankie was a hero who saved thousands, if not millions, of lives.
    • £13.59
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