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August 16, 1941

Magic in a Bottle

JAMA. 1941;117(7):574. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820330078032

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This book does for the chemical trail breakers what De Kruif's "Microbe Hunters" did for the bacteriologic pioneers. The author, by virtue of his experience in scientific circles on the Pacific Coast especially in connection with the Golden Gate International Exposition, is well qualified to write it and has done so ably. The book deals with the discovery and introduction of morphine and quinine, digitalis, cocaine, the antisyphilis drugs, acetylsalicylic acid, barbituric acid and its derivatives, the vitamins, the hormones and the sulfanilamide group. The book is written in the best tradition of popular science writing. All the heroes are struggling young men with big ideas which are scornfully rejected by scientific stuffed shirts. Right always triumphs, which makes for the progress of science and also makes excellent reading. Much of the commendably accurate but regrettably dull scientific writing for the public could be greatly improved with a little touch

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