The first edition of this book appeared in 1941, on the eve of America's entry into a war in which it was to have China as an ally. China had only recently been an empire, later splintered amongst various war lords, and for many years, embroiled in a struggle against the more modern Japanese invaders. A few missionaries and intrepid travelers knew it, though there was, in Shanghai, a large international colony. A Western-style medical school existed in Peiping, and Isidore Snapper was its professor of medicine. The first edition of this book presented much that was undoubtedly new to Western physicians. But it is not fair to say that the volume consists of Chinese lessons to Western medicine, because the all-seeing eyes that Snapper developed in his native Netherlands were brought to focus on the Chinese problems and introduced Western lessons to Chinese medicine.
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