John H. Talbott, distinguished investigator and recently retired editor of JAMA, has performed a unique service to medicine. His most recent contribution is this remarkable series of biographical sketches in which the history of medicine is traced through the lives of great physicians (from Hammurabi, 2250 BC to Banting, 1891-1941). These are expanded versions of essays which the author wrote for JAMA over the years of his editorship. They are remarkable examples of fine medical-reportorial style (the author says that some underwent five to ten revisions). They reflect the background, historical sensitivity, and broad knowledge of the biographer.
Line drawings by Gabriel Bako adorn much of the book; quotations from original articles citing key contributions by the biographees, and a few of the cardinal contributions to the literature of each of the individuals add great flavor to the presentations.
The skein of each life is woven into the grand tapestry