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August 29, 1977

Medicine Without Doctors: Home Health Care in American History

JAMA. 1977;238(9):977. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280100061030

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Health Care and Popular Medicine in 19th Century England: Essays in the Social History of Medicine, by John Woodward and David Richards, 195 pp, $18, New York, Holmes and Meier (101 Fifth Ave, New York 10003), 1977.

Social history of medicine differs from history of social medicine. The latter has to do with government control of medical care; social history, on the other hand, concerns the social factors that relate to illness and its treatment: the interrelations of people; attitudes, customs, and values of various social classes; poverty and its effects—the whole realm of sociology. By a remarkable coincidence, two books on social medicine, written on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean, have appeared almost simultaneously, the one dealing with America in the 19th century, the other with England in approximately the same era.

The volume edited by Risse et al reprints a symposium at the University of Wisconsin dealing