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April 1958

The Physician as Man of Letters, Science and Action.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(4):841. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260160165027

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Monro's compilation of brief biographical sketches of physicians who established themselves as highly talented men or as geniuses in nonmedical lines is a rich repository of miscellaneous information. This is a book for those who go into an old bookshop and forget what they were aiming for or escaping from. It probably should have been entitled "The British Physician as a Man of Letters, Action and Science," since reference to doctors of other lands is fragmentary, perfunctory, and illiterate. In the pages of this little book I discovered diseases bearing the names of saints, a Dr. Morrison who invented a telegraph in 1753, M.D.'s who achieved their most conspicuous fame as pirates or murderers, others who forsook medicine for the church or who went in the opposite direction, and a doctor who constructed (1) a wooden bull that bellowed, (2) an automatic dragon, and (3) a selfperforming lyre! Perhaps this

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