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January 19, 1994

Orthopedics: A History and Iconography

Author Affiliations

Franciscan Children's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center Boston, Mass


by Leonard F. Peltier (Norman Surgery Series, No. 5; Norman Orthopedic Series, No. 3), 304 pp, with illus, $225, ISBN 0-930405-47-1, San Francisco, Calif, Norman Publishing, 1993.

JAMA. 1994;271(3):245-246. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510270091049

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Open this handsome book at random and you will have more than an even chance of encountering a portrait of an "icon" or picture of a patient, or of a device or diagram supplementing the text. The overall text is composed of many quotations (perhaps a third to a half of the space) and nutshell accounts of the achievements, demographics, and dates of each of the dramatis personae. So the text contains many, many names and dates.

The question I raise is whether this is history or iconography, as asserted in the title. I say neither. Rather, it is a good source book, not to be read, but rather to be referred to for facts such as the chronology of any of the persons identified in the excellent index and bibliography, or a little bit of information about a figure of little renown.

Before arguing whether this book deserves to

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