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April 21, 1962

Great Ideas in the History of Surgery

JAMA. 1962;180(3):264. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050160080034

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The history of surgery, unlike that of medicine, has rarely been recorded; therefore, the publication of Great Ideas in the History of Surgery is particularly welcome. According to the authors, their work attempts "to convey a feeling of the growth of surgery by presenting the leading personalities from the beginning of literary records to the present."

Although this book takes the reader through the millenia of recorded surgical history, it is "neither a conventional nor a complete history of surgery." It rather deals with the personalities of the great surgeons, the climate of thought of their day, their relation to medicine in general, and finally, with their writings, in which the "great ideas" are contained. The most significant of the writings are quoted in excerpt, many here translated into English for the first time.

From this panorama there emerges the story of surgery and the surgeon as it has not

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