During the twentieth century, medicine has been radically
transformed and powerfully transformative. In 1900, western
medicine was important to philanthropy and public health, but it
was marginal to the state, the industrial economy and the welfare
of most individuals. It is now central to these aspects of life.
Our prospects seem increasingly dependent on the progress of
bio-medical sciences and genetic technologies which promise to
reshape future generations. The editors of Medicine in the
Twentieth Century have commissioned over forty authoritative
essays, written by historical specialists but intended for general
audiences. Some concentrate on the political economy of medicine
and health as it changed from period to period and varied between
countries, others focus on understandings of the body, and a third
set of essays explores transformations in some of the theatres of
medicine and the changing experiences of different categories of
practitioners and patients.
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