Ed Holden's Reviews > Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail

Scurvy by Stephen R. Bown
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

it was ok

I give this book two stars for research. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the writing. The stories are repetitive, and while the subject is fascinating, the book as a whole needed a rewrite.

In particular I think the author could have built a great hook for the reader by starting his history of scurvy with a compelling opening story; that of Samuel de Chaplain's journey up the St. Lawrence, because it played out so early in the age of exploration, would have been an ideal choice. As it is, starting with a summary of scurvy and its causes, the book reads like a college book report, and it never shakes this flavor.

But again, the subject is interesting and the research thorough.

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