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October 1983

The Medicine of History: From Paracelsus to Freud

Author Affiliations

Lexington, Ky

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(10):661-662. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050090097026

There seem to be three major reasons for writing histories of medicine: (1) to "prove a point," eg, that doctors are immoral, medicine in the 20th century is a gift of the gods, and medicine as it exists in modern times is blasphemous; (2) to reveal, through examination of original documents and sources, a fascinating variation of approaches to medical care in human history, which should be studied in their own right for practical and artistic reasons; and (3) to show that the history of medicine is chock-full of mystery, curiosa, and bits and pieces that remind a perceptive reader of the best in detective fiction (well illustrated in the writings of Berton Roueche). Klawans' 13 essays in TheMedicine of History fall somewhere between the second and third reasons, with the apparent enthusiasm for the quirkiness of medical men putting them more firmly in the latter. The collection is

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