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Book and New Media Review
January 2004

Historical Atlas of Dermatologyand Dermatologists

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by John Thorne Crissey, Lawrence Charles Parish, and Karl Holubar,234 pp, $89.95, ISBN 1-84214-100-7, New York, NY, The Parthenon PublishingGroup, 2002.


Copyright 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2004

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(1):132. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.1.132

Ezra Pound once wrote "the history of an art is the history of masterwork. . . ." Cervantes said "history is in a manner a sacred thing." Francis Bacon added, "histories make men wise." Chaim Herzog wrote, "If it is people who shape history, it is also history that shapes people." And finally, Abba Eban wrote in describing the histories of cultures that "if (a civilization) is not inherited it passes away."

The 3 authors of Historical Atlas of Dermatology and Dermatologists, all historians of dermatology, have written a succinct and pertinent guide to the history of our specialty. The text is written as a combination of the history of ideas in dermatology along with the men and women who proposed or popularized them. The story is presented in chronologic order, starting with papyrus-thin details of dermatologic disease descriptions of ancient times. The saga moves forward with descriptions of the early Europeans who proposed classifications of dermatologic disease based on the meager science that was available in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The authors move deftly between the European countries, narrating the major forces of dermatologic teaching, publishing, and practice. These early dermatologists were giants in their dedication, daring, creativity, ingenuity, and intellect. Finally, an array of dermatologists of the 20th century from around the world is described, with wonderful photographs complementing the detailed contributions of each.

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