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September 12, 1977

The Vienna Medical School of the 19th Century

Author Affiliations

AMA Chicago

JAMA. 1977;238(11):1184-1185. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280120076027

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In the 19th century (and much of the 20th) Vienna was among the foremost medical centers of the Western world. In 1965 Erna Lesky published a history of the Viennese school, a book that is now translated into English.

The book, encyclopedic in scope, has many excellent features—and many drawbacks. Based on archival sources as well as published works, the amount of detail is truly enormous. After a short introduction, the course of events is described in three sections, chronologically more or less distinct. Within each of these periods, the exposition attends to individual specialties, eg, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics. In the last and longest section, more than 20 specialties are described. This presentation of information in mosaic form is fine for those who want specific details about specific individuals or events. Moreover, the references and bibliographies comprise an admirable storehouse of information; the old photographs are splendid.

Unfortunately, there