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Book and Media Reviews
July 11, 2007

The Second Blessing: Columbus Medicine and Health—The Early Years

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD.

JAMA. 2007;298(2):229-233. doi:10.1001/jama.298.2.232

The medical history of a community can reveal much about aspects of local life and customs. Medical history can document a community's social problems, the impact of poverty, how groups interact to spread disease, how governments deal with public health needs, and how the poor, women, immigrants, and minorities are treated by society's elite—all in a single study. The Second Blessing: Columbus Medicine and Health—The Early Years is an exhaustive study of the history of medicine in Columbus, Ohio, from the first white settlers to 1900. With its extensive details, the book conveys the comprehensive study that good medical history can sometimes provide. But the book does not always succeed, and its level of detail is both its strength and its weakness.

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