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During the period roughly from 1794 to 1848, the period covered by Dr. Ackerknecht's new book, France led the world in medical progress. The great figures of this era, who made the transition to modern medicine, were leaders in medical thought. Their names are familiar to most of us—Pinel and Bichat, Broussais, Corvisart, Laennec, Louis, Dupuytren. Lesser figures abound, familiar to scholars, although less well-known to the general medical public. The concern with the patient, with physical examination, with careful observation, quite transformed the practice of medicine. The detailed correlation of clinical and pathological findings provided a new and fruitful perspective. New concepts of disease, regarded as process, became quite influential.
For this important era there was no systematic book-length study. Consequently, we are greatly indebted to Dr. Ackerknecht for making available a survey of this extremely interesting period, which, in earlier journal articles, he has done so much to
King LS. Medicine at the Paris Hospital 1794-1848. JAMA. 1967;201(2):145. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130020091041