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July 31, 1948

Letheon: The Cadenced Story of Anesthesia

JAMA. 1948;137(14):1265. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890480085040

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The author suggests that this experiment in cadenced narrative of the story of anesthesia should be read aloud or not at all. The author has read it aloud to several medical assemblages, and its reception caused him to make it generally available. The story is supplemented by a chronology of anesthesia and a fine bibliography and index, which make it the kind of book one expects from Chauncey D. Leake. Except for a slight unevenness the work holds the attention, but the story is so condensed that rereading is frequently required for comprehension. Here is a sample in which the author relates a well known anecdote:

Obstetrics grew with Simpson's chloroform. Amusing to us now, he drew upon himself the wrath of clergymen, who