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Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate Collection

Here is a list of the best Medical History books, some I have read myself, some that I did research on, and all have great reviews!

1. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World (2007)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionA National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year It’s the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking,…
Author(s): Steven Johnson

2. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (The Norton History of Science) (1999)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate Collection“To combine enormous knowledge with a delightful style and a highly idiosyncratic point of view is Roy Porter’s special gift, and it makes [this] book . . . alive and fascinating and provocative on every page.”―Oliver Sacks, M.D. Hailed as “a remarkable achievement” (Boston Sunday Globe) and as “a triumph: simultaneously entertaining and instructive, witty and thought-provoking . . . a splendid and thoroughly engrossing book” (Los Angeles Times), Roy Porter’s charting of the history of medicine affords us an opportunity as never before to assess its culture and science and its costs and benefits to…
Author(s): Roy Porter

3. Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present and Future (2009)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionThe story of viruses and humanity is a story of fear and ignorance, of grief and heartbreak, and of great bravery and sacrifice. Michael Oldstone tells all these stories as he illuminates the history of the devastating diseases that have tormented humanity, focusing mostly on the most famous viruses. Oldstone begins with smallpox, polio, and measles. Nearly 300 million people were killed by smallpox in this century alone and the author presents a vivid account of the long campaign to eradicate this lethal killer. Oldstone then describes the fascinating viruses that have captured…
Author(s): Michael B. A. Oldstone

4. Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries (2019)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionAs a Yale School of Medicine physician, the New York Times bestselling author of Every Patient Tells a Story, and an inspiration and adviser for the hit Fox TV drama House, M.D., Lisa Sanders has seen it all. And yet she is often confounded by the cases she describes in her column: unexpected collections of symptoms that she and other physicians struggle to diagnose. A twenty-eight-year-old man, vacationing in the Bahamas for his birthday, tries some barracuda for dinner. Hours later, he collapses on the dance floor with…
Author(s): Lisa Sanders

5. Medicine From Cave Dwellers to Millennials (2018)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionMedicine and disease has preoccupied man from the age of the cave dweller to the present day millennial generation. In all cultures and eras populations have sought the means to preserve health and restore it when absent. How physicians and scientists throughout history have traveled the long circuitous journey to comprehend the mysteries of the human body, origins of disease and treat the ill is the subject of this book. Written for today’s patients and medical professionals, the fast-paced narrative delivers compelling insight into older medical practices and gives the reader an appreciation of how medicine has developed through the…
Author(s): Stolz MD, Jonathan L.

6. Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Ages (2013)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionStrange Medicine casts a gimlet eye on the practice of medicine through the ages that highlights the most dubious ideas, bizarre treatments, and biggest blunders. From bad science and oafish behavior to stomach-turning procedures that hurt more than helped, Strange Medicine presents strange but true facts and an honor roll of doctors, scientists, and dreamers who inadvertently turned the clock of medicine backward:• The ancient Egyptians applied electric eels to cure gout.• Medieval dentists burned candles in patients’ mouths to kill…
Author(s): Nathan Belofsky

7. Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital (2017)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionBellevue Hospital, on New York City’s East Side, occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe—or groundbreaking scientific advance—that did not touch Bellevue.     David Oshinsky, whose last book, Polio: An American Story, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the history of America’s oldest hospital and in so…
Author(s): David Oshinsky

8. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (2008)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionFrom the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that…
Author(s): Harriet A. Washington

9. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (2017)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionNamed a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and Chicago Tribune, now in paperback with a new reading group guideMedicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they…
Author(s): Atul Gawande

10. Seattle’s Medic One: How We Don’t Die (2019)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionIn 1968, Dr. Leonard Cobb, along with Seattle fire chief Gordon Vickery, began to implement something new and daring: one of the country’s first pre-hospital coronary care systems. Along with Dr. Michael Copass, they started Medic One, an emergency service unlike any other. One year later, the first vehicle equipped with a defibrillator and ten highly trained Seattle firefighters took to the streets. Medic One has since trained hundreds of paramedics, added an emergency air transport service in four neighboring states, helped build a statewide emergency transfer system and…
Author(s): Rapport MD, Richard

11. Accidental Medical Discoveries: How Tenacity and Pure Dumb Luck Changed the World (2016)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionMany of the world’s most important and life-saving devices and techniques were often discovered purely by accident. Serendipity, timing, and luck played a part in the discovery of unintentional cures and breakthroughs:A plastic shard in an RAF pilot’s eye leads to the use of plastic for the implantable lens.The inability to remove a titanium chamber from rabbit’s bone leads to dental implants.Viagra was discovered by a group of chemists, working in the lab to find a new drug to alleviate the pain of angina pectoris.A stretch of five weeks of unusually…
Author(s): Robert W. Winters

12. The Black Death: A History From Beginning to End (2019)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionThe Black DeathSweeping across the known world with unchecked devastation, the Black Death claimed between 75 million and 200 million lives in four short years. In this engaging and well-researched book, the trajectory of the plague’s march west across Eurasia and the cause of the great pandemic is thoroughly explored. Inside you will read about…✓ What was the Black Death?✓ A Short History of Pandemics✓ Chronology & Trajectory✓ Causes & Pathology✓ Medieval Theories & Disease Control✓ Black Death in Medieval Culture✓ ConsequencesFascinating insights into the medieval mind’s perception of the disease and…
Author(s): Hourly History

13. The Cambridge History of Medicine (2006)

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate CollectionThe Cambridge History of Medicine, first published in 2006, surveys the rise of medicine in the West from classical times to the present. Covering both the social and scientific history of medicine, this volume traces the chronology of key developments and events, while at the same time engaging with the issues, discoveries, and controversies that have beset and characterized medical progress. The authors weave a narrative that connects disease, doctors, primary care, surgery, the rise of hospitals, drug treatment and pharmacology, mental illness and psychiatry. This volume emphasizes…
Author(s): Roy Porter

Best Medical History Books: The Ultimate Collection

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some medical history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Medical Student Survival Skills: History Taking and Communication Skills

Author(s): Philip Jevon; Manoj Samaranayake; Steve Odogwu
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2403110

The Irish Medical Profession and the First World War

Author(s): David Durnin
Publisher: Springer International Publishing; Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2408219

Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History

Author(s): Catharine Arnold
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Year: 2018, Size: 16 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2260745

Psychedelic Prophets: The Letters of Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond

Author(s): Cynthia Carson Bisbee, Paul Bisbee, Erika Dyck, Patrick Farrell
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press, Year: 2018, Size: 4 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2290605

From Clinic to Concentration Camp: Reassessing Nazi Medical and Racial Research, 1933–1945

Author(s): Paul Weindling, (ed.)
Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2017, Size: 4 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2172829

Reasoning Against Madness: Psychiatry and the State in Rio de Janeiro, 1830-1944

Author(s): Manuella Meyer
Publisher: University of Rochester Press, Year: 2017, Size: 5 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2235593

Shell-Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain

Author(s): Tracey Loughran
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Year: 2017, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2342427

A History of Force Feeding: Hunger Strikes, Prisons and Medical Ethics, 1909-1974

Author(s): Ian Miller
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2016, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1551515

A History of Force Feeding: Hunger Strikes, Prisons and Medical Ethics, 1909–1974

Author(s): Ian Miller
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2016, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1580156

Civic and Medical Worlds in Early Modern England: Performing Barbery and Surgery

Author(s): Eleanor Decamp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK, Year: 2016, Size: 1 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1583799

Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are absolutely record-breakers according to The New York Times, others are composed by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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