As scientists confidently look forward to average life expectancies hitting 100+ years in some Western societies, it’s easy to forget how precarious our grasp on good health has been. It is a struggle no better demonstrated than by the myriad and extraordinary measures that humans have gone to – as diverse as animal sacrifice to stem cell transplants – in their quest to stave off death and disease.
Acclaimed historian Mark Jackson takes a fresh, global view of mankind’s great battle, exploring both Western and Eastern traditions. Examining ancient right through to modern approaches to health and illness, Jackson presents the orthodox and alternative practices and key turning points – sometimes for good and sometimes not – that determined how different cultures tackled disease. The result is a fascinating survey of the complex ways in which medicine and society have shaped one another throughout the ages.
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