Book cover of Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment by Christina Ramos
Americas

Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment

A rebellious Indian proclaiming noble ancestry and entitlement, a military lieutenant foreshadowing the coming of revolution, a blasphemous Creole embroiderer in possession of a bundle of sketches brimming with pornography. All shared one thing in common. During the late eighteenth century, they were deemed to be mad and forcefully admitted to the Hospital de San Hipolito in Mexico City, the first hospital of the New World to specialize in the care and custody of the mentally disturbed. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Wine-Dark Sea Within: A Turbulent History of Blood by Dhun Sethna
Biological Sciences

The Wine-Dark Sea Within: A Turbulent History of Blood

A revisionist history of medicine, in which blood plays the starring role 
 
Inspired by Homer’s description of the ebb and flow of the “wine dark sea,” the ancient Greeks conceived a back-and-forth movement of blood. That false notion, perpetuated by the influential Roman physician Galen, prevailed for fifteen hundred years until William Harvey proved that blood circulates: the heart pumps blood in one direction through the arteries and it returns through the veins. […Learn More]

Book cover of Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky
Health and Psychology

Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a riveting history of New York’s iconic public hospital that charts the turbulent rise of American medicine.

Bellevue Hospital, on New York City’s East Side, occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe—or groundbreaking scientific advance—that did not touch Bellevue. […Learn More]

Book Cover of The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years by Sonia Shah
Biological Sciences

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names—and opened their pocketbooks—in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren’t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest foes? […Learn More]

Book cover of Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentlemen Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail by Stephen Brown
Health and Psychology

Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentlemen Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail

Scurvy took a terrible toll in the Age of Sail, killing more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined. The threat of the disease kept ships close to home and doomed those vessels that ventured too far from port. The willful ignorance of the royal medical elite, who endorsed ludicrous medical theories based on speculative research while ignoring the life-saving properties of citrus fruit, cost tens of thousands of lives and altered the course of many battles at sea. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Urge: Our History of Addiction by Carl Erik Fisher
Food & Wine

The Urge: Our History of Addiction

An authoritative, illuminating, and deeply humane history of addiction—a phenomenon that remains baffling and deeply misunderstood despite having touched countless lives—by an addiction psychiatrist striving to understand his own family and himself […Learn More]