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Whom the Gods Love Die Young: A Modern Medical Perspective on Illnesses that Caused the Early Death of Famous People
by Roy Macbeth Pitkin, M.D.
The history of medicine is fascinating, especially how and why certain diseases have developed with respect to frequency, treatment, and outcome. This book uses the life and death of well-known historical figures who died before age forty to introduce the illness of which they died, and it then proceeds to outline advances in the understanding, diagnosis, and therapy since.
The famous people range from Robert Burns of the late-eighteenth century to Eva Perón and Mario Lanza of the mid-twentieth. Some of the diseases discussed (e.g., rheumatic heart disease and childbirth death) have virtually disappeared, at least in developed countries, and the outcomes of others (e.g., tuberculosis and kidney failure) have improved markedly because of new and effective means of diagnosis and treatment, particularly over the past half-century.
About the Author
In fifty years as a physician, Roy Macbeth Pitkin held leadership positions at two major academic medical centers. He has authored two hundred scientific publications and also had extensive editorial experience, including sixteen years as editor-in-chief of a leading medical journal. He is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences as well as a Fellow of both the American and Royal (British) Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Professor Emeritus at UCLA, he now lives with his wife, Marcia, in La Quinta, California, where he is able to indulge a long-held interest in history.
(2008, paperback, 192 pages)