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Merle

Merle

Medicine by Steve Parker

Medicine: The Definitive Illustrated History - Steve Parker

This is an interesting and well-designed coffee table book, which nevertheless contains a lot of text – definitely not one I read through in a single sitting. It covers a lot of material and some of the illustrations are actually really cool, including pictures of historical medical instruments and microscopes. It’s definitely western-centric although I think the publishers would deny it: there are spreads on Asian and Middle Eastern medicine but they are not the focus, and scientists and doctors from these cultures tend to be mentioned as a collective, rather than being individually profiled like the white Europeans (I’m not sure a single person of color is profiled in the book. Maybe Ibn Sina). The organization is also a bit rough: officially the book is organized chronologically, but really it’s organized topically – so diabetes comes up at the point in history when a treatment was developed, and then there’s some information at the beginning of the spread on historical discoveries about diabetes. That said, it’s a coffee table book, and I think it’s pretty good for what these big illustrated books are intended to do.