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Book review
A short history of medicine
  1. Sanjay A Pai
  1. Correspondence to Sanjay A Pai, Consultant Pathologist, and Head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Malleswaram, Bangalore 560055, India; sanjayapai{at}

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F González-Crussi. . Published by Modern Library, New York, USA, 2008, pp 250, including notes and index, paperback, £6.72. 978-0-8129-7553-6

There have been many general books on the history of medicine in the past decade. Most have been written by medical historians or physicians and I am unaware of any book written by a pathologist. I was curious to know what new information one could possibly come across. Frank González-Crussi has of course made immense contributions to pathology literature and has been an editor of the World Health Organization fascicle on extragonadal teratomas. Besides, he is a felicitous writer who has written wonderful essays in his earlier books such as The Day of the Dead, Notes of an Anatomist, and others.

Suffice it to say that I was overwhelmed by the author's grasp of medical history. In just a little over 200 pages, he packs in tons of information, considerable amounts of which I, at any rate, was not aware of. Lamarck, for instance, who we all know of for his ill-fated theory of inheritability of acquired characteristics, was apparently a pioneer of studies on invertebrates. More importantly, he was an opponent …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.