This fabulous anthology is sure to be a core text for history of medicine and social science classes in colleges across the country. In order to demonstrate how medical research has influenced Western cultural perspectives, the editors have collected original works from 61 different authors around nine major themes (among them "Anatomy and Destiny," "Psyche and Soma," and "The Construction of Pain, Suffering, and Death"). The authors range from Aristotle, the Bible, and Louis Pasteur, to Masters and Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, and Simone de Beauvoir. The primary sources selected to illustrate the themes are well chosen and contrast with each other nicely. However, the brief background material for the selections center around the authors and offer little or no discussion about the selections' relevance to the topics at hand. This book would be best read in a class or group where the texts' meaning in relation to each other can be discussed, but the book can stand alone if the reader is prepared to do some critical thinking.
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