The life history of any popular medical book is always of interest. In 1900, Dr. Richard Cabot, then an assistant in clinical medicine at the Harvard University Medical School, took it on himself to write a book on the physical diagnosis of diseases of the chest. This book was intended for students; as Dr. Cabot stated, it contained nothing original but endeavored to describe in simple concise English how the chest should be examined and to do away with certain well worn myths regarding physical diagnosis that had been carried onward in nearly all textbooks. This volume was 310 pages long and contained among other novelties several roentgenograms of thoracic conditions bewilderingly difficult to appreciate and certainly impossible for the hard-headed clinician of those days to take seriously. However, the book was a distinct contribution to American medicine: It started teachers thinking how to improve clinical instruction.
The book was