Contrary to Nature. DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 76–720. By Shimkin Michael B., pages. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1977. Price, $12.75.

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In most American medical schools, the history of medicine is a peripheral bit of the curriculum—if it is taught at all. Very likely this neglect is mostly owed to faculties' views that the history of medicine is not central among the skills needed to practice medicine; but there may be other reasons. It is relevant to point out that professionals in medical history are usually concerned mainly with abstractions—forces, movements, and concepts—and less with the particular persons and what they did. But, worse, they may leave to the student the task of linking history to today's patient in the hospital

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