Cassy's Reviews > Breakthrough!: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World

Breakthrough! by Jon Queijo
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Feb 14, 11

bookshelves: books-in-2010, non-fiction, favorites
Read from December 07 to 17, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** This book really surprised me. It was a book I picked up for free off Amazon. It was only free for a limited time but often when things are free on Amazon they're either really old books or they're terrible. This was neither.

Some of the breakthroughs were really obvious. Penicillin was one of them and was one that everyone would agree with. However, there were some that you wouldn't necessarily think of as a medical breakthrough, like sanitation. In reality, however, sanitation is one of the best because it was something that revolutionized the medical community but it was something that was so simple.

I also liked the book because Queijo managed to explain all these medical discoveries without getting you lost in the medical jargon. Even the chapters that were in the most danger of that, like the one on DNA and Chromosomes, managed to keep me, if not interested, at least on track. I still understood everything that he was telling me.

I wasn't really interested in the chapter on DNA but that doesn't mean it wasn't pertinent or well written. It just didn't happen to be a subject that interested me but it was well written by Queijo and I actually learned a lot of interesting things while reading that chapter about how chromosomes and DNA works and about how it was discovered and also about genetics and heredity.

One of the best chapters was on vaccinations and how cures for things like small pox really did come from things like cow pox. Someone observed that the cow maidens didn't get small pox and it was because they got it's relative, cow pox. I liked that some of the "myths" we'd heard about certain medical breakthroughs were actually true like this particular story and like how penicillin was discovered by accident.

The chapter on alternative medicine seemed like a weak way to end the book however. Not that I don't think it's an important topic; I do. More and more people are trying different ways to cure their diseases because doctors can't fix things. Also, doctors are becoming impersonal and treating sicknesses, not patients. People are starting to turn toward alternatives because they don't like what's being offered to them. I just think that it should have been earlier in the book.

Also, the book was done chronologically, not by importance. It started with the distinction between medicine and mythology. Medicine became a science, something that was respected, not an occupation. The book ended with alternative medicine. I think it should have gone by order of importance, not chronologically.

Overall, Queijo's book was fascinating. I really enjoyed reading it. He presents the book in a way that even if you're not interested in medicine, you'll still enjoy it. You don't get lost in medical jargon and it's really easy to follow. I recommend this book to anyone who just has an interest in furthering their knowledge on some medical history.
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