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The Healing Hand

The Healing Hand

Man and Wound in the Ancient World

Guido Majno

ISBN 9780674383302

Publication date: 01/01/1975

This journey to the beginnings of the physician’s art brings to life the civilizations of the ancient world—Egypt of the Pharaohs, Greece at the time of Hippocrates, Rome under the Caesars, the India of Ashoka, and China as Mencius knew it. Probing the documents and artifacts of the ancient world with a scientist’s mind and a detective’s eye, Guido Majno pieces together the difficulties people faced in the effort to survive their injuries, as well as the odd, chilling, or inspiring ways in which they rose to the challenge. In asking whether the early healers might have benefited their patients, or only hastened their trip to the grave, Dr. Majno uncovered surprising answers by testing ancient prescriptions in a modern laboratory.

Illustrated with hundreds of photographs, many in full color, and climaxing ten years of work, The Healing Hand is a spectacular recreation of man’s attempts to conquer pain and disease.


  • What vitality—a great laughing, learned, extroverted giant, dragging you with him on one of the most stimulating and entertaining journeys for a long while… This is just a great, astonishing book.

    —Charles Newman, British Medical Journal


  • Guido Majno was Chairman of the Department of Pathology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

Book Details

  • 600 pages
  • 7-1/4 x 11-3/16 inches
  • Harvard University Press