The Discovery of Insulin
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The Discovery of Insulin

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  97 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In a brilliant, definitive history of one of the most significant and controversial medical events of modern times, award-winning historian Michael Bliss brings to light a bizarre clash of scientific personalities. When F. G. Banting and J. J. R. Macleod won the 1923 Nobel Prize for discovering and isolating insulin, Banting immediately announced that he was dividing his s...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 15th 1984 by University Of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 1982)
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Allyson Dyar
"The Discovery of Insulin" by Michael Bliss has to be considered the definitive word on the trials and tribulations on how insulin was discovered.

I'd say, even this day, if you ask most folks who won the Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin, I believe that the most common answer still is Banting and Best, not Banting and Mccleod. Never mind even knowing who Collip was.

The book edition I read was the 2007 updating of "The Discovery of Insulin" where Dr Bliss not only answers his first edition...more
Elizabeth S
I'm not sure if this is the same book I read years ago, about how insulin was discovered and first used to help diabetics. The book I read was very interesting and informative, walking you through the process of discovery and figuring out how to make it usable. It explains how they decided defined a "unit" of insulin, for example. Very readable.
Since Diabetes runs in my family, I've heard a number of stories about how difficult the treatment used to be, for my grandmother in particular. It was through that lens that I absorbed all of the information about pre-insulin treatments, thinking of how lucky Grandma was to not be subjected to starvation diets or other torturous attempts to control the disease. What an awful existence for those patients.
I was fascinated by the timeline associated with the discovery, how so many people around t...more
At first glance, insulin discovery discovery is the perfect fairy tale story. A simple young country doctor who's scarred by the war is inspired in the middle of the night to set on his quest to discovering insulin. His simple background and average results certainly fit layman's picture of a brilliant transformation. We are all suckers for drama, writers most of all. That's where I compliment Michael Bliss's unbiased account of such -now I know, greatly paradoxical- story. Surprising and eye op...more
Feb 02, 2013 Felix rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in health and nutrition
Shelves: health
This book was recommended to me by a nutrition book
I was reading. The section I was reading was on
the effect of insulin resistance and the corresponding
health problems that develops because of it. The
book recommended reading the book "The Discovery Of Insulin"
by Michael Bliss and I was able to borrow it from the
local library.

The book is a very interesting read on how insulin came
about. You can think of the book as being made up of
3 parts. The first part is a detailed exposition of
countless expe...more
Mobius Scutav
Although I've said this before, I'll say it again. I read the original article by Nicolae Paulescu and I can say with certainty that he is the discoverer of insulin. I do not know how many actually bothered to compare the articles of Paulescu and Banting's ... but I did it. Not to mention the date of publication of the two articles. Thus, it is a fully European discovery. I have spoken with many people (in the field of diabetology), and all of them consider that 1) Paulescu and 2) Collip should...more
Mobius Scutav
Well, I read the original article by Nicolae Paulescu and I can say with certainty that he is the discoverer of insulin. I do not know how many actually bothered to compare the articles of Paulescu and Banting's ... but I did it. Not to mention the date of publication of the two articles. Thus, it is a fully European discovery. I have spoken with many people (in the field of diabetology), and all of them consider that 1) Paulescu and 2) Collip should have been awarded the Nobel (or Paulescu alon...more
John Williams
A masterfull book that reads almost like a novel. Researching and
writing after the death of the protagonists and with the availability of
their papers, historian Michael Bliss of the University of Toronto
traces the story of the discovery of inulin, its purification, and
administration to patients in the period from 1921 to 1923 by Frederick
Banting, Charles Best, JJH Macleod and Bertram Collip. Theirs was a
stormy partnership but when you finish reading you will understand the
role each played...more
I should have written this review a while ago, but I didn't, and the review will suffer for it. I don't think my fascination with this book is completely related to my son's having diabetes. Maybe I'm fooling myself. It's simply amazing how the discovery of insulin came about; simply amazing that it came about at all, given how this story played out. It was the most exciting nonfiction book I've read in quite some time.
Well-written and fascinating to read - Bliss manages to make the long account of lab work by Banting and Best into a page turner, a feat in and of itself, but his book also does a great job of showcasing the horror of pre-insulin diabetes, the magnitude of insulin's impact on treatment of the disease, and the sometimes sloppy process by which this discovery (and I'm sure many other great ones) was made.
Quite Interesting, although a little bit tedious at times. But what can be expected of a book about the discovery of insulin. I do have to say I enjoyed learning where "units" came from...those poor rabbits and all of the dogs they went through, amazing to think that it took all that to get what we finally have today.
Maryann Jorissen
I was very disappointed in this book. It was not what I expected at all. Many pages were devoted to discussion of the research. Without a modicum if experience in research, one can lose interest pretty quickly. Steps in extraction and manufacture were covered again the story was dry.
A fascinating true story describing the political maneuverings surrounding the search for a magic bullet to cure diabetes. Scientifically interesting in and of itself, but the infighting and intrigue add a dimension just as compelling as any work of fiction.
Being dependent on insulin for life and all, I found this book pretty interesting. For me, it was a good mix of science and human interest. I walk away from the text with an increased gratitude for all that went in to bringing insulin (and diabetics) to life.
It was a fun read and helped me learn more about medicine and the processes of scientific research a century ago. Glad we have insulin now because of the benefits it has given so many diabetics who I love and admire!
It is a must read for anyone who has a child with diabetes or is diabetic. It goes through the history of diabetes and also explains how insulin was discovered. Fascinating read!
Joy Jones
My Mom was an infant when her Dad worked on the team that discovered Insulin. She was interviewed by the author of this book. I thought it was fascinating and a very good read.
I read this book for a project at work in 2006 and totally forgot about it until I found a review online. Absolutely loved it.
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