Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Reviews

Review, Bliss: The Discovery of Insulin

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Writing for the February 28 New England Journal of Medicine Dr. Chris Feudtner reviews our new edition of Michael Bliss’s The Discovery of Insulin, a fascinating account of the struggle of four Canadian scientists—Frederick Banting, J.J.R. Macleod, Charles Best, and J.B. Collip—to make one of the most important medical discoveries of the modern age. Feudtner writes:

During the past century, medical science has produced numerous remarkable therapeutic achievements, but few accomplishments can rival—in terms of importance or drama—the development of insulin in 1921 and 1922.…
Twenty-five years ago, the historian Michael Bliss composed his remarkably illuminating recounting of this saga. It has proved to be the definitive account. Bliss, now a university professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, has also written highly regarded biographies of the inimitable physician Sir William Osler, the polymath surgeon Harvey Cushing, and the fascinating, albeit mercurial, Banting. But as Bliss confides, “The Discovery of Insulin is my favourite,” and the book has now been released in a 25th anniversary edition, with a new preface and an updated concluding chapter.

You can find the full text of the review on the New England Journal of Medicine website, or find out more about the book here.