Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Book cover: "From Witchcraft to World Health"

  • Title: From Witchcraft to World Health
  • Authors: Dr. Samuel Leff and Vera Leff
  • Cover illustrator/designer: Unknown
  • Publisher: The Macmillan Company. First American Printing.
  • Year: 1958
  • Original price: $4.50
  • Price at used bookstore: $8 (before discount)
  • Price online: As of this writing, copies start at $5, though there aren't many.
  • Provenance: The first page has this note: "Please return to Florence M. Lipe. Personal. Nov. 1958." This might be the same Florence.
  • Pages: 236
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket text: "This is the story of a war — an unceasing struggle that commenced in the beginning of time. A war that has been, and is still being, fought not to destroy life but to save it. It is a far cry from the primitive cures of the tribal medicine-mean to international acceptance of the declaration of the World Heath Organization that the primary function of medicine is prevention, not cure. In this history of healing through the ages the authors have rendered a valuable service to the layman in the provision of a popular and comprehensive survey of man's unrelenting fight against disease."
  • Acknowledgement: "Our thanks are due to the Wellcome Historical Medical Library for their assistance in choosing and in making available many of the illustrations in this book."
  • First sentence: "The story of medicine is the story of man: man's most constant problem has always been how to keep alive."
  • Last paragraph: "Imperceptively, the revolution in medicine will come about, and with it the revolution in the health of all peoples. It has taken man millions of years to progress from the fear of witchcraft to the hope of world health; and from the first glimpse at the future it need take only a generation or two to reach the fulfilment of that hope: a world of healthy, happy people at peace."
  • Harsh excerpt from 1958 review in American Journal of Sociology: "The Leffs have attempted a popular history of medicine and have achieved no great success because of a tendency toward oversimplification..."
  • Notes: From biographical notes on the dust jacket, we learn that Dr. Samuel Leff was also a Barrister-at-Law and had experience with general practice and tuberculosis. Co-author Vera Leff "travelled widely with her husband to study health services in other countries. As a writer she has a number of short stories to her credit and has written on health problems from the lay point of view for various women's and other periodicals."

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