Our yesterdays have determined who we are today, and knowledge of our past has the potential to enhance both our understanding of the present and our predictions of the future. Diagnosing Giants traces the history of medicine through the illnesses of some of the most influential figures of the past. Standard biographies all too often pay scant attention to the health issues that affected their subjects. Yet, the diseases suffered by these figures had profound effects on their lives and their legacies. Each chapter opens with a detailed medical history of the patient. Facts relevant to the historical figure's life and legacy are woven into the case summary, and the mystery patient's identity is revealed at the conclusion of the case summary. The author then analyzes the medical history, offers a differential diagnosis and a final diagnosis. Where relevant, the potential effects of the subject's medical problems on his or her life and legacy are discussed. Diagnosing Giants is a must-own volume for medical professionals and history buffs alike.
The book's strenghts are the close attention to historical context, careful sifting of conflicting evidence based on incomplete data, consideration of the logic and utility of disease concepts accross cultures and centuries, and instructive speculation by a thoughtful, knowledgeable clinician-historian. Highly recommended. S. W. Moss, Choice,
Professor and Vice Chairman, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
1. Mummy's Curse ; 2. A Last Repast ; 3. Little Boots ; 4. Noble Enemy ; 5. "Interred at the Least Possible Expense" ; 6. El Sordo ; 7. A Medical Labyrinth ; 8. Old Jack ; 9. Mortal Wound ; 10. Voyage to Invalidism ; 11. Vessels of Stone ; 12. Fatal Zest for Living ; 13. "Too Busy to be Sick"