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The Eternal Search
The Story of Man and His Drugs
Rating :
Author(s) :
Richard R. Mathison
Pages :
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
1958(hb,1st ed,vg/vg-)
Publisher :
Fredrick Muller Ltd
The Eternal Search is a history of the medical arts, and the curious bypaths they have taken in the search for truth. The protagonists of this book are no mere mortals. They are the ores of the earth; the weird and wonderful vegetables which have eased man's tribulations and, misused, added to man's burdens; and the parts of men and animals which have at various times in the history of civilization been used for laudable or dubious purposes. Richard Mathison tells the story of the superstitions, strange practices, and extraordinary medical vogues of the past. Here you can read of black and white magic; of the stock-in-trade of apothecaries and alchemists through the ages; of the fantastic theories surrounding every human vagary, from cannibalism to cosmetics; of aphrodisiacs and narcotics, insanity and the relief of pain.

Every dilemma from midwifery to embalming has been the subject of countless theories, treatments and panaceas. They are all here -- the comic and the shocking, the cruelly useless and the surprisingly efficient. To read this book is to obtain a novel and unprepossessing insight into the ways of man, and it poses an uneasy question: will twentieth century remedies appear like this to future generations?