The therapeutic perspective : medical practice, knowledge, and identity in America, 1820-1885 /

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Main Author: Warner, John Harley, 1953-
Format: Book
Published: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1986.
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Review by Choice Review

Historians of American medicine have hesitated to focus on the history of therapeutics. Warner's book is a very successful attempt to delve into the history of medical practice utilizing modern techniques of research and evaluation; the result is medical history at its very best. The book is interesting and quite readable considering its technical focus. The author analyzes the social and intellectual backgrounds to the 19th-century transformation of medicine from an individualized approach to one based on clinical research. Among the questions posed by the author are the role of science in the evolution of modern medicine, the effect of educational reforms, the impact of the unorthodox sects, and European influences on American medicine. The study is based on a wide variety of sources, including extensive use of hospital and physician records, to determine exactly what medical practice consisted of in the various regions of the country. Compared with previous works in the history of medicine, this book provides an excellent demonstration of the steadily increasing sophistication in the field. This book is highly recommended for persons interested in the history of medicine, the history of science, and American intellectual history of the 19th century.-M. Kaufman, Westfield State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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