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Edited by Wendy Mitchinson and Janice Dickin McGinnis. Toronto. McClelland and Stewart. 1988. 218pp. paper. $14.95. ISBN 0-7710-6063-7. (The Canadian Social History series). CIP

Reviewed by Ruth Bainbridge

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

This collection of seven essays dealing with the social history of medicine in Canada is edited by two female historians, each of whom wrote one of the essays.

Kenneth Pryke discusses health care in Halifax in 1827-1849 and clearly depicts the role of politics in determining the type of health care offered to the population. The advent of public health in Toronto during the period 1866-1890 is covered by Heather MacDougall. Prior to the 1860s public health was a non-issue except when an area faced an epidemic.

This collection of essays clearly depicts the evolution of health care in Canada, from the era when most sick people were treated at home by their family and only the destitute were confined to public institutions, to the present, with our highly trained, highly specialized health-care system. The long ongoing battle by advocates of public health to emphasize health prevention and health promotion rather than the cure is also depicted.

This book is very readableóby lay readers as well as by the scholarly. Each essay is followed by an extensive bibliography; the book also contains an extended bibliography for further reading. Essays in the History of Canadian Medicine is recommended for students at the post-secondary level in any social science area as well as nursing and medicine.

Ruth Bainbridge, Humber Community College, Toronto, Ont.
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