The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine

The Medical Book: From Witch Doctors to Robot Surgeons, 250 Milestones in the History of Medicine, by Clifford A. Pickover. I snatched this book up the last time I was browsing the stacks at Barnes & Noble and I couldn’t be more pleased. Mr. Pickover does an excellent job of detailing the history and development of medicine over the course of human civilization and of presenting it in a highly readable and enjoyable fashion. As you may know, I’m a physician and I still managed to learn an awful lot about the history of my profession from this work. The artwork and images greatly add to the book and are to be found on every other page, artwork and images that range from ancient skulls with trepanation wounds, to prosthetic eyes, to acupuncture charts. The author also does a great job of presenting the evolution of medicine in both the West and the East, spending a fair amount of time on traditional Indian and Chinese medicine and even devoting substantial portions of the book to the historical contexts of various forms of alternative medicine. I highly recommend this book. My only complaint is that it is a little bit pricey at ~$30 for a new copy–try to get a used copy that is in good condition instead.

Dr. Leonardo Noto

Author: Intrusive Memory, The Life of a Colonial Fugitive, and The Cannabinoid Hypothesis.

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The First World War

The First World War, by John Keegan, is a moderate length examination of what was arguably the worst war to experience as a soldier. From the gilded rooms of the leaders of the Central Power monarchies to the dirty, freezing, rat-infested trenches, John Keegan explores the causes of WWI, the military strategies of the generals, and the miserable lives of soldiers on both sides of the conflict as they fight a bloody stalemate that is fought on three miserable fronts–the static Western front, the somewhat more mobile Eastern front, and the mountainous Southern front. This book is written at the level of the college educated person but is nonetheless highly readable. I was personally shocked when reading this work by how close the Central Powers came to winning the war, especially in 1917 and at the beginning of 1918–I was also struck by how unnecessary and ultimately futile this horrible conflict was. It is difficult to walk away from this book without thinking that millions of soldiers gave their lives for nothing, or worse, gave their lives to set the world up for an even larger and, for civilians, more horrible sequel.

Dr. Leonardo Noto

Author: The Life of a Colonial Fugitive, Intrusive Memory, and The Cannabinoid Hypothesis–all available through both on Kindle and in paperback!