As scientists confidently look forward to average life expectancies hitting 100+ years in some Western societies, it's easy to forget how precarious our grasp on good health has been. It is a struggle no better demonstrated than by the myriad and extraordinary measures that humans have gone to - as diverse as animal sacrifice to stem cell transplants - in their quest to stave off death and disease.
Acclaimed historian Mark Jackson takes a fresh, global view of mankind's great battle, exploring both Western and Eastern traditions. Examining ancient right through to modern approaches to health and illness, Jackson presents the orthodox and alternative practices and key turning points - sometimes for good and sometimes not - that determined how different cultures tackled disease. The result is a fascinating survey of the complex ways in which medicine and society have shaped one another throughout the ages.
'lively and accessible'
‘As ever Mark Jackson offers us a humane and expansive view of the past to inform our vision of the future. As well as being a fantastic introduction to the history of medicine, this book is essential reading at a time when medical humanities scholars are for the first time working closely with clinicians and scientists to influence the direction of medical therapy and practice.'
'Lively and accessible. This is much more than a beginner's guide, it will make students think.'
'The very best one volume history of health and illness available. Clearly written, up-to-date and informative...A great read.'
'The history of medicine does not come more sumptuous than this. In one short book, Jackson has transformed the way we understand the theory and practice of medicine. This is global history at its most sophisticated.'