Medicine in America
A Short History
How did the challenge and the timetable of America's westward expansion affect American medical practice? What have the principles and obligations of American democracy brought to the character of American medicine? How have America's geography and climate, as well as its racial and economic diversity,led to differing outlooks on health and medicine?
Medicine in America James Cassedy explores America's medical "distinctiveness" and follows medical and health-related matters from colonial times to the present. Through four chronological chapters, Cassedy focuses on broad aspects of the American medical scene: the work and ideas of the "orthodox" physician and the formation of America's medical establishment; non establishment health activities, including self-medication, therapeutic sects, and organized movements to promote nutrition and fitness; the health-related sciences, along with their institutions and accomplishments; governmental involvement in medical care, licensing, research, sanitation, and public health; and the varying "health environments" of rural, small town,urban, and transient populations.
As he examines events in the context of political, social, economic, industrial, and other historical realities, Cassedy shows the rise of orthodox medicine in the United States through its increasing professionalization and the establishment of medical institutions. He follows the expanding role of government in the advancement and regulation of health care, and the explosion of public health problems that accompanied urbanization. He also explores how regional, racial, social, and economic differences determined access to healthcare. Medicine in America is a valuable introduction that links the history of medicine, health, and disease in the United States to the larger events in U.S. social history.
About the Author
James H. Cassedy (1919–2007) was a historian at the National Library of Medicine. He was the author of several books, including American Medicine and Statistical Thinking, 1800-1860, and Medicine and American Growth, 1800-1860.
Well written, with a very useful bibliographical essay and index, this book can be recommended for medical and general readers alike. It should also quickly find its way into the classroom, both at the high school and college levels... The author has carefully woven health-related events and developments into the tapestry of American history, exploring them in relation to geography and climate, culture and institutions, politics and economics.
To cover the history of medicine in America from the earliest European settlements to the present day in 159 pages seems a risky enough undertaking, yet James Cassedy here carries it off admirably... It is clearly written; its generalizations are firmly stated; and its scope is broad.
The best brief history of health care in America since Richard H. Shryock's classic survey appeared over thirty years ago. This compact guide—ranging in coverage from physicians to pharmacists, from public health to personal hygiene, and from Christian Science to medical science—offers a readable and reliable synthesis of recent scholarship. It will surely be the textbook of choice for years to come.
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