Worried by the recent public disenchantment with science and the resultant diminution of research funds, the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology established a task force to improve their image. Panels of workers in various biological disciplines cooperated in preparing this book, designed to acquaint the general reader with the valuable contributions made in the past three decades. It is an outstanding achievement—they have avoided most of the faults of multiauthored books and products of committees and have produced a well-organized, well-written, and interesting volume.
The longest chapter deals with medicine. Here, the successful attacks on infectious diseases, especially pneumonia, poliomyelitis, syphilis, tuberculosis, and malaria, are glowingly described. Organ transplantation, cardiovascular surgery, advances in treating hypertension, artificial kidneys, and many other accomplishments are reported enthusiastically. Practically all this is true, but, it seems to me, the picture is greatly exaggerated. The casual reader might get the impression that before
Meehan MC. The Science of Life: Contributions of Biology to Human Welfare. JAMA. 1976;235(3):320. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260290064038
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