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December 14, 1940

Progress in Medicine: A Critical Review of the Last Hundred Years

JAMA. 1940;115(24):2108-2109. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810500076039

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Interesting himself in philosophies more than in events and personalities, the author has produced here a historical meditation concerning medical progress ostensibly only in the last century but in reality covering much more in point of time. His approach is reminiscent of Singer rather than of Clendening, Haggard or Major, whose historical essays for lay readers bid fair to become lasting contributions to this field of medical literature. He objects to "history viewed in the light of its heroes" because the lapses between the times of heroic individual achievements appear to be dark ages or voids. "History viewed as the progression of ideas has no dark ages" the author says in his introduction.

Proceeding on this theory, he opens with a review of "Preludes to Pasteur." Tracing the evolution of man's conceptions as to the causes of disease from Homer's description of the plague of the mules and the swift

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