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Post Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries
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Post Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Their lives changed history. Their deaths were mysteries, until now! Post-Mortem: Solving History's Great Medical Mysteries by Philip A. Mackowiak, MD, FACP, examines the controversial lives and deaths of 12 famous men and women. Post-Mortem answers vexing questions such as: Was Alexander the Great a victim of West Nile virus? What caused the gruesome final illness of King ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 15th 2007 by American College of Physicians (first published April 2nd 2007)
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Allyson Dyar
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science

I love medical history, but this book was tedious in the way the author chose to present the subject.

He would have been far better to skip the gimmick of not naming the patient for the first third of the chapter and just dove right in.

The chapters would have made excellent standalone chapters, but all together in a book.

G.K. Hansen
Feb 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was unfinishable for me. I've now avoided touching it for almost two full months so I am Calling it. The conceit (referring to the historical figure as "the patient" 1 million times instead of using their name) makes it difficult and frustrating to follow, and this author is Not a good writer.
Ann Goddard
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than once while reading history I have become interested in what actually killed an interesting historic figure. This physician, a forensic historian,uses clues left in literature and records to try to diagnose historic figures' mortal ailments. He takes a chapter for each famous person, from Gautama Buddha to Vladimir Lenin, whose identity he holds back until the final pages of the chapter (I found that slightly annoying, but I'm sure it does focus the attention on the symptoms rather than ...more
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Docs
I caught some of the HCC's when I was at Maryland, and this book captures the fun. He des a lovely job of making things exciting and has a nice easy writing style. I think non-medical types would be able to read it, but the interest in parsing out Bright's disease from essential hypertension may not be there.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting case series of historical figures and the etiologies of their death using what we know from the historical record. The cases are probably more compelling presented in a conference format (which I think was their original format), but still interesting.
Leslie B Mink
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but I was able to discern identity and cause of death well before it was given by author.

Young people considering the medical arts should read this book.

Not recommended for those who are a bit squeamish.

May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating stuff. Mackowiak takes care to not just discuss symptoms, but to bring the patients alive and place them and their ailments within the cultural contexts of their lifetimes.
Sue P
rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2015
Mary Claire
rated it liked it
Jan 05, 2014
Cree Maxson
rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2016
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