‘Yet another compulsively readable, astonishingly encyclopaedic book from Roy Porter…his best to date: an epic, one-volume narrative history of man’s struggle with the infirmities of his body, from Aesculapius to AIDS.’ SIMON SCHAMA‘Whether you are interested in the advent of the stethoscope, the history of yellow fever, the bubonic plague or, closer to home, coronary heart disease, the feminist influence on medicine, drug abuse, childbearing or cancer, this book provides the historic background to these and other medical questions… The Greatest Benefit to Mankind is a first-class introduction to medical history. Like a well constructed broadsheet leader, it excites thought and discussion, as well as providing many answers.’ THOMAS STUTTAFORD, The TimesMedicine advances ever faster, and with it a capacity not just to overcome sickness, but to transform the very nature of life. Starting in antiquity, Roy Porter’s titanic history examines the traditions of both East and West to chart how this revolution came about and how life for human beings in some parts of the world has ceased to be ‘nasty, brutish and short’. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind becomes from the moment of publication the standard work on its subject. It is also a magnificent entertainment and a delight to read.