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June 13, 1986

An Outline History of Medicine

Author Affiliations

Northwestern University Medical School Chicago

JAMA. 1986;255(22):3179. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370220141052

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What is put in is more important than what is left out in this type of book. Rhodes, who has been a faculty member and a dean in medical schools in Australia and England, has obviously long enjoyed reading about the history of medicine. With this book, he has attempted to bring his enjoyment to visible life and to show his colleagues in practice and the classroom, as well as medical students, that the pleasure and knowledge derivable from an acquaintance with the history of their profession can serve philosophic and practical purposes. Rhodes has succeeded in his major goal and, indeed, has provided a pleasant and stimulating road— with broad horizons—for the physician or student to travel, even though he or she may have believed that medical history is a lifeless and impractical subject.

Ten of the 12 chapters are based on a chronologic bird's-eye view. Rhodes discusses, in