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The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine appears at a critical moment for medical history; in a period when its practitioners are being forced to re-evaluate their aims and agendas in the face of shifting funding priorities and disciplinary angst. Just a few years, one leading medical historian publicly declared that medical history was ‘dead’, or was at least heading that way.
The last decade has witnessed a flowering of interest in the history of women and cancer, alongside studies on the history of cancer and related topics.(1) While there might be historical trends that explain the attention paid to certain topics in medical history at particular times, the literature on the history of cancer deals with an inherently controversial disease
Performing Medicine, an exploration of the transformation of the cultures, values and meanings of medicine across the late 18th and early 19th centuries, constitutes a new and welcome contribution to the historiography of medical life and the creation of a modern medical profession.
Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska’s new history of the body, health and fitness in Britain is a wide-reaching and detailed study of relevant cultural practices and government policies between the Victorian period and the eve of the Second World War.
In November of 2011, I listened to Dr Samuel Alberti present a paper on ‘Body parts in Bart's’ – one of a series of seminars held in St Bartholomew’s pathological museum in West Smithfield. The museum is a cavernous room surrounded on all sides by glass specimen jars, making the visitor feel it is they who are as much under scrutiny as the specimens themselves.
I was 16 or 17 when I first read Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, and 26 when I completed my PhD on shell shock in First World War Britain.
In 1990 Susan Gross Solomon and John F. Hutchinson published Health and Society in Revolutionary Russia(1), an edited volume that has served as a touchstone for scholars of medicine, gender, revolution, culture, professionalization, economics, and state power. Frances L.
The First World War was a terrible experience that most soldiers were shocked by once they became active participants. How were soldiers’ able to cope with the grim realities of this war? How were they able to keep going in spite of losing close friends and comrades in one battle after another?
With a few exceptions, the history of shell shock in Britain has focused primarily on doctors’ and patients’ responses to mental trauma during wartime.(1) In particular, scholars of psychological trauma have investigated doctors’ dilemmas in diagnosing shell shock, wartime debates over restoring individual health versus military needs, and the ‘crisis of masculinity’ t
Historians of nursing in Britain have long been fighting for a place in the history of medicine. For example, of the 718 pages of text in Roy Porter’s best-selling The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, only five are concerned with nursing, and these, inevitably, with Florence Nightingale and 19th-century hospital reform.