William Osler: A Life in Medicine Hardcover – Feb 15 2000
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From Library Journal
Medical historian Bliss (The Discovery of Insulin) has written the authoritative modern biography of 19th-century Canadian physician William Osler. Idolized by many as one of the greatest of all modern physicians, Osler emerges from this critical text as a brilliant, influential physician and teacher, full of compassion for his profession and patients. Bliss offers a glimpse of the rise of modern medicine and medical education as it unfolded around Osler and provides a view of the time as well as of the man. This volume replaces Harvey Cushing's two-volume tribute, The Life of Sir William Osler (1956), as the definitive text in the field. Highly recommended for history collections in all academic libraries and essential for medical collections.AEric D. Albright, Duke Medical Ctr. Lib., Durham, NC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Osler, a Canadian, became famous in the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century, first in Canada, then in the U.S., and finally in England. In 1926, seven years after his death, neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing wrote a two-volume biography of him that won a Pulitzer Prize. Why, then, is another biography needed? First, Osler was a major player in the history of medicine as clinician, teacher, and literary and scientific author. Second, much new material has become available since the 1920s. Finally, Bliss proved himself with his biography of Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin, as well as other scholarly and readable books. He individuates Osler and his family members, colleagues, and patients, setting them all in enough, but not too much, social, medical, and political historical context. Thoroughly documented, this is a biography that is pleasurable to read and deserving of a place in virtually every public, college, and medical library. William Beatty --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course this book will be compared with the innumerable number of other writings about William Osler, most notably of course the Cushing version. And Bliss clearly acknowledges the plethora of carefully collected documentations and personal correspondences that Cushing had accumulated in crafting his tale. However, I think this book stands on its own as a unique rendering of Osler mainly because of one simple fact. Bliss has had the luxury of time on his side to not just document the time and lives and the state of Medicine in the late 19th century, but most importantly, he relates it to the current, modern day state of affairs in those areas as well. He has woven a story that encompasses through the life of the great Osler, the tremendous influences of 19th medicine on modern day medicine. Even if one is not in the health-related professions or the biomedical sciences, one cannot miss the fact that this is a book as much about humanism as it is about medicine.
Biography, like history is riddled with biases, especially if it is about people and events that have revolutionazied mankind. This is particularly so in regards to William Osler, whose life and work have been immortalized, and a man who had acheived a legendary status even during his own life time. Bliss's work is as unbiased as it could possibly be given the already intrinsic biases about his subject. In this sense, this book is also unique from the previous biographies of Osler.
Overall, this is a most enjoyable read. This is definitely a "page-flipper" that takes you into the life, struggles, and triumps not only of Osler, but in a sense, of the entire human race.
The effect of the book is uplifting, challenging, instructive, buoying, rivetting; it is almost impossible to put it down, and when one does one's mood is deep, absent reflection.
There is a profound lesson in "William Osler: A Life in Medicine" for our own era and its bizarre and pitiful oblivion of all that really lies at the heart of medicine: suffering, character, judgment, courage, conscience, compassion, ignorance, and you and I.
Not process control, impersonal abstraction, colossalism, profiteering, niggardliness, or cosmetic morality.
- Patrick Gunkel
Most recent customer reviews
I was going to give this 4 stars because of excessive valorization when I realized that there is no particular way of not valorizing William Osler. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Richard Schwindt
Though I've never personally had much of an interest in the history of medicine, I found this book very enjoyable and inspirational. Read morePublished on June 3 2000 by DR P. Dash
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