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This book is primarily intended to show the newcomer to neurology "where we neurologists came from." Dr Spillane believes in the educational value of the history of medicine and in these 467 pages he selects many of modern neurology's ancestors and chronicles the interactions of their thoughts. Spillane's scholarship and his respect for his profession's forebears shine brightly here. From Galen to Gowers (but with little attention to others such as Jackson and Charcot) he provides quotations and wry, commonsense editorial comments.
The writing is comfortably breezy (reminiscent of Spillane's An Atlas of Clinical Neurology) but not superficial, and the reader will find work as well as reward here. The important writings of Robert Whytt and John Cooke, which will be unfamiliar to many American readers, are detailed. The founders of American neurology, W. A. Hammond and S. W. Mitchell, are nicely described. An extensive bibliography makes the book a
Peters BH. The Doctrine of the Nerves. Arch Neurol. 1981;38(12):787–788. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510120087026