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April 27, 1994

Surgery: An Illustrated History

Author Affiliations

SUNY Stony Brook, NY

JAMA. 1994;271(16):1294-1295. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510400084044

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This illustrated history of surgery is a surprising treat: a delightful, readable, descriptive account of surgery's evolution from the Stone Age extending well into the 20th century. The text is supported by an outstanding collection of paintings, photographs, surgical instruments, and so forth, many from museums throughout the world. There are 368 illustrations in all, 102 in full color. The unusually informative legends are, for the most part, the efforts of Jeremy Norman and could well stand alone if issued under separate cover.

Although I have more than a passing interest in medical history, I confess that most of the illustrations are new to me. Dr Rutkow has recognized the societal role of medical practice and its parallel evolution with humankind's development. In a novel approach, he includes extant medical knowledge prior to the beginning of the Middle Ages in one category, treats the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and 17th, 18th,

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