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William Osler was born in a parsonage in backwoods Canada on July 12, 1849. In a life lasting seventy years, he practiced, taught, and wrote about medicine at Canada's McGill University, America's Johns Hopkins University, and finally as Regius Professor at Oxford. At the time of his death in England in 1919, many considered him to be the greatest doctor in the world. Osler, who was a brilliant, innovative teacher and a scholar of the natural history of disease, revolutionised the art of practicing medicine at the bedside of his patients. He was idolised by two generations of medical students and practitioners for whom he came to personify the ideal doctor. But much more than a physician, Osler was a supremely intelligent humanist. In both his writings and his personal life, and through the prism of the tragedy of the Great War, he embodied the art of living. It was perhaps his legendary compassion that elevated his healing talents to an art form and attracted to his private practice students, colleagues, poets (Walt Whitman for example) politicians, royalty, and nameless ordinary people with extraordinary conditions. William Osler's life lucidly illuminates the times in which he lived. Indeed, this is a book not only about the evolution of modern medicine, the training of doctors, holism in medical thought, and the doctor-patient relationship, but also about humanism, Victorianism, the Great War, and much else. Meticulously researched, drawing on many new sources and offering new interpretations, William Osler: A Life in Medicine brings to life both a fascinating man and the formative age of twentieth-century medicine. It is a classic biography of a classic life, both authoritative and highly readable.
Oxford University Press Inc
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