William Hamilton’s History of Medicine, Surgery and Anatomy, penned during the early nineteenth century, is an elegantly written discussion of the development of medicine and surgery from the dawn of humanity to the eighteenth century. The authors have rewritten this chronicle, replacing the British English of the period with modern American English, to suit a contemporary readership and thereby add a valuable resource to the arsenal of medical students, healthcare professionals, and other individuals who wish to study with enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity the history of medicine and surgery. The authors hope that this current work makes an obscure masterpiece readily accessible and comprehensible to the modern reader.
The original 737-page text has been reduced to 161 pages and retitled Hamilton’s History of Medicine and Surgery. Hamilton’s rhetorical flights and repetitions, characteristic of English non-fiction written during the early nineteenth century, have been removed to make the text easier to understand, and some of the more aggressively ethnocentric passages have been removed so as to provide a fairer account of the development of medicine and surgery. The authors have included some of Hamilton’s original footnotes and incorporated additional footnotes in order to balance respect for the original text with the needs and interests of the modern reader. Contemporary publications to which the reader can refer in order to study in greater detail various topics noted in the text are cited in new footnotes. This abridged version delineates significant events pertaining to medicine and surgery prior to the nineteenth century and discusses the lives of historical figures and the paradigms in which they practiced the art of healing in a concise manner. The original text lacks images, and the authors have incorporated 45 images of historical figures to enrich this revised version. Hamilton’s History of Medicine and Surgery richly portrays the odysseys of medicine’s champions and the social and religious milieus in which their efforts to alleviate illness took place, and presents to the reader an opportunity to comprehend more fully the evolution of the art of healing. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical )