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The Therapeutic Perspective:
Medical Practice, Knowledge, and Identity in America, 1820-1885
John Harley Warner
With a new preface by the author

Winner of the 1991 William H. Welch Medal, American Association for the History of Medicine

Paperback | 2014 | $65.00 | £54.95 | ISBN: 9780691606040
Hardcover | 2016 | $170.00 | £141.95 | ISBN: 9780691634883
386 pp. | 6 x 9
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This new paperback edition makes available John Harley Warner's highly influential, revisionary history of nineteenth-century American medicine. Deftly integrating social and intellectual perspectives, Warner explores a crucial shift in medical history, when physicians no longer took for granted such established therapies as bloodletting, alcohol, and opium and began to question the sources and character of their therapeutic knowledge. He examines what this transformation meant in terms of patient care and assesses the impact of clinical research, educational reform, unorthodox medical movements, newly imported European method, and the products of laboratory science on medical ideology and action.

Originally published in 1997.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


"Combining a prodigiously researched and thoroughly fascinating depiction of actual nineteenth-century therapy with a sophisticated and widely applicable model of scientific change, The Therapeutic Perspective is a superb book, likely to become a classic in the literature of medical history."--Martin S. Pernick, Science

"Warner tells his story in powerful and lucid . . . prose. . . . [He] has written an important and radical book."--Steven Shapin, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"[The Therapeutic Perspective] is a clearly written and well-organized analytic study that should bring much credit to its author, for he has made far more understandable an important aspect of our history."--Gert H. Brieger, M.D., Journal of the American Medical Association

"[Warner] pursues a sophisticated argument with extraordinary diligence, thus producing a carefully crafted book. . . . Judged by its methodology, insights, presentation, and prose, this book ranks as a model of American scholarship."--Dora B. Weiner, Social History of Medicine

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Therapeutics and the Transformation of American Medicine 1
Pt. I Antebellum Medical Therapeutics
1 Intervention and identity 11
2 Epistemology, Social Change, and the Reorganization of Knowledge 37
3 The Principle of Specificity 58
Pt. II The Process of Change
4 Therapeutic Change 83
5 Attitudes toward Change 162
6 Attitudes toward Foreign Knowledge 185
7 The Arbitration of Change 207
Pt. III Therapeutic Reconstruction
8 Physiological Therapeutics and the Dissipation of Therapeutic Gloom 235
9 Cui Bono? 258
Abbreviations 285
Notes 289
A Note on Sources for the History of Therapeutics 345
Index 353


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Hardcover published in 1986 by Harvard

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  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

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File created: 7/11/2017

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