Byline: VAL HENNESSY
THE GREATEST BENEFIT TO MANKIND by Roy Porter (HarperCollins, [pounds sterling]25) THIS mammoth medical history is hypochondriac heaven. Almost everything you wanted to know about the advance of medical science is included in Roy Porter's 700 gripping, scholarly, fact-packed pages.
It's a must-have book and the essential accompaniment to those well-thumbed, panic-inducing medical dictionaries that we're all secretly addicted to.
Porter begins in antiquity, examining how healers taught and thought down the ages, moves through medieval times, includes Chinese and Indian practices, and arrives at Western medicine with its astounding scientific advances, its capacity to conquer many previously fatal diseases and ensure that life for most people in the West has ceased to be nasty, brutish and …