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Book and Media Reviews
August 9, 2006

History of Surgery

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;296(6):704-709. doi:10.1001/jama.296.6.704

Instruments of iron; some are to cut as shears, razors and lancets . . . And some to draw out diverse things, as tongs and pincers.—Thomas Morstede, Fair Book of Surgery, 1446

With this quotation, John Kirkup, MD, FRCS, introduces us to his encyclopedic review of surgical instruments and clinical practice as it evolved from primitive cultures to the 21st century. This is not a book to be read like a novel; in fact, the density of detail can be a challenge to the reader. But it is a remarkable source of information on a wide range of surgical topics from amputation to vaccination.

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