June 21, 1995

The History of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Author Affiliations

State University of New York Health Sciences Center Brooklyn


by Michael J. O'Dowd and Elliot E. Philipp, 700 pp, with illus, $125, ISBN 185070-224-1, New York, NY, Parthenon Publishing, 1994.

JAMA. 1995;273(23):1880. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520470090041

This book is a 700-page gem. Its purpose is to record and make available the changes that have taken place in obstetrics and gynecology over many centuries. In considering so great a time span and combining chronologies with biographies, the authors give the reader an appreciation of the people and processes in the field.

The authors have introduced several features that will make this volume an asset to libraries and readers. Each chapter ends with a summary, followed by a chronology of events and reference list. A most thoughtful addition is a short bibliography on every obstetrician and gynecologist mentioned as well as a few non-OB/GYN greats. One chapter covers information about universities, royal colleges, medical societies, ethics, and the law.

The chapter on cesarean section illustrates the rise and fall of a most controversial subject. The idea of delivering a baby through the abdominal wall of the mother goes

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