The Greatest Benefit to Mankind
Roy Porter’s erudite chronicle of the history of medicine remains the definitive work on the subject.
‘This account is completely without the cynicism which seems to have disfigured so much recently written medical history’
- The Economist
For much of the human race, standards of health and longevity are at all-time highs: the average British woman can expect to live twice as long as her Victorian predecessors, and the death rates of many diseases are falling. But, ironically, we live in an age of deep ambivalence towards medical institutions and acute anxiety about threats to our well-being – some real, others supposed. Roy Porter asks: ‘Have we become health freaks or hypochondriacs … precisely because we are so healthy and long-lived that we now have the leisure to enjoy the luxury of worrying?’ Even-handed and immensely readable, Porter’s book charts the interplay of faith, superstition, philosophy and science that has shaped our perception of the body, and thereby our medical theories and practices. Along the way, he reveals a fascinating range of diseases and afflictions, and their often unexpected origins and ‘cures’.
Quarter-bound in cloth with paper sides printed with images by Cath Riley
Set in Arno Pro
872 pages in total
Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates, and 11 integrated black & white chapter headings in each volume
10˝ x 6¾˝