Frontier Medicine: From the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1492-1941
Despite the subtitle, this is primarily a history of medical practice in America’s frontiers, concentrating on the time after the Revolution. The author explains how the medicine of the frontiers evolved from superstition and procedures borne of ignorance to the mostly scientific approach used today. Within its pages are incredible stories of healing and mis-practice, a treasure trove of historical trivia, and not a few surprising facts.
Told in textbook style reminiscent of books written fifty to a hundred years ago, this is hardly scintillating stuff. The book is, after all, primarily a reference work, and a very good one at that. At the same time the anecdotal nature of the material, as well as the colorful characters and stories of the time period, does provide some interest for a general audience. To students of the frontier or medical history and especially to writers of the period, this book will likely prove an invaluable reference.