TITLE: Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine
AUTHOR: Thomas Hager
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: 5 March 2019
FORMAT: ARC ebook
NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.
"Behind every landmark drug is a story. It could be an oddball researcher’s genius insight, a catalyzing moment in geopolitical history, a new breakthrough technology, or an unexpected but welcome side effect discovered during clinical trials. Piece together these stories, as Thomas Hager does in this remarkable, century-spanning history, and you can trace the evolution of our culture and the practice of medicine.
Beginning with opium, the “joy plant,” which has been used for 10,000 years, Hager tells a captivating story of medicine. His subjects include the largely forgotten female pioneer who introduced smallpox inoculation to Britain, the infamous knockout drops, the first antibiotic, which saved countless lives, the first antipsychotic, which helped empty public mental hospitals, Viagra, statins, and the new frontier of monoclonal antibodies. This is a deep, wide-ranging, and wildly entertaining book. "
Ten Drugs is an entertaining, yet informative look at a number of drugs that have shaped medical history and today's world. This isn't a scholarly history of the pharmaceutical industry, but rather a collection of chapters about a variety of drugs that have shaped medical history. This book is a nicely written (and fascinating) introduction to the history of drug discovery and medicine, as well as providing information on how the pharmaceutical industry evolved and functions. Each chapter deals with a specific group of drugs and are bound together by common themes such as drug evolution, growth of the pharmaceutical industry, changing public attitudes and changes in medical practices and laws. Chapters are devoted to the following topics: opium; smallpox and vaccinations; chloral hydrate (the first totally synthetic drug and original date rape drug); herion, opiates and addiction; the not so "magic bullet" antibiotics; antipsychotics; lifestyle drugs, viagra, and birthcontrol; opioids; statins; and monoclonal antibodies. The book concludes with a look at the future of drugs, with personalized and digitized medicine.
Hager states that this book is aimed at people who know a little about drugs and want to learn more. In this regard, Hager has succeeded in writing a book that is (in my opinion) accessible, entertaining, informative and interesting, to the general public. I particularly appreciated the author's (mostly) objective and clear writing style.