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July 21, 1989

The History of Surgery in the United States, vol 1: Textbooks, Monographs, and Treatises

Author Affiliations

State University of New York at Stony Brook

State University of New York at Stony Brook

JAMA. 1989;262(3):414. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430030102046

This fascinating account of surgery in the United States from 1775 through 1900 can be described as an annotated bibliography, although this simple phrase fails to do justice to a truly superb tome. It fills a literary void that most surgeons undoubtedly were unaware existed. Within this 488-page high-quality production, Ira Rutkow has succeeded in compiling for the first time a list of every book, monograph, and treatise written by an American surgeon that represents original work and not a foreign-language translation. It is composed of 552 original works that are divided into eight chapters representing various surgical disciplines, allowing easy reference for varied specialists. The annotation for each entry includes a thumbnail biography of the author; analysis of the work's contents; where possible and appropriate, high-quality illustrations from the original 18th- and 19th-century American medical publications; and lists of other works by the author, both medical and nonmedical.