From ancient religious rituals and magical incantations, to Renaissance practices such as purging, bleeding, and trepanning, to modern day miracles such as antibiotics, CAT scans, and organ transplants, the advance of western medicine has been nothing short of astonishing. Now, in this richly illustrated volume--boasting 150 pictures, including 24 pages of color plates--readers have an authoritative and wide-ranging history of Western medicine, charting the great milestones of medical progress, from the birth of rational medicine in the classical world right up to the present day. The history begins in ancient Greece, where medical practice, under the auspices of Hippocrates and others, first looked past supernatural explanations and began to understand disease as a product of natural causes. The book examines the contributions of the great Islamic physicians, such as Rhazes (Al-Razi) and Avicenna (Ibn-Sina), who had a profound impact on the practice of medieval medicine, and it chronicles the slow growth of medical knowledge through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, illuminating the work of figures such as Paracelsus, Vesalius, and William Harvey (who explained how blood circulates through the body). But it has been in the last two centuries that medical practice has made its greatest strides, and Western Medicine provides informative portraits of figures as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch (the fathers of bacteriology), Wilhelm Roentgen (discoverer of x-rays), and Paul Ehrlich (who pioneered the use of chemicals to destroy disease-causing organisms), and many others. And as the contributors highlight the great medical discoveries, they also cover broader medical and social themes, examining for instance the rise of medical training in universities (beginning around 1200 AD), the relationship in the Renaissance between medicine and art, and the tension between the church and an increasingly secularized medical professional class, tension that continues to this day. The book also explores nursing, midwifery, and the rise of the hospital, traces our slow understanding of the patterns of epidemics and the geography of disease (tracking for example the devastating effects of disease brought about through colonization and the slave trade), and charts our changing attitudes towards child birth, mental disease, and the doctor-patient relationship. Authoritative, informative, and beautifully designed, this volume offers a fascinating introduction to medicine in the West. In addition to its generous illustrations, the volume includes a glossary, an extended list of suggested further reading, a chronology, and a full index, making it an indispensable reference for anyone interested in medical history.