April 1961

The Reluctant Surgeon: A Biography of John Hunter, Medical Genius and Great Inquirer of Johnson's England

Author Affiliations

By John Kobler. Price, $4.95. Pp. 359, with no illustrations. Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y., 1960.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(4):626-627. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620040152029

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One might imagine that the very extensive list of all sorts of biographies and sketches which John Kobler collected and put in several sections of the bibliography would have made him feel that another life of John Hunter was a task of supererogation. Not only are there many full-length biographies, but on alternate years since 1814 some distinguished physician or surgeon in England has delivered a Hunterian oration. One of the most perceptive, and surely the most elegant of all discussions of John Hunter is found in Wilfred Trotter's essay on The Commemoration of Great Men. It would be difficult to get through medical school without having at least some information about John Hunter, the gruff Scot who, with his brother, William, was a dominant figure in 18th Century London medicine. But John Hunter was more than a great surgeon. As Kobler points out, emphasizing it in the title The

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