Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book: "The Devil's Doctor"

Since I discovered Philip Ball and his writings, I have been reading everything he produces. In my opinion, he is by far the best science writer. I am also interested in reading everything about Paracelsus since I consider himself one of my heroes in science and medicine no matter what people think about him. I think he played a very important role in modernization of chemistry and medicine. 

If you think this book is an ordinary biography, you are mistaken. The book is really well written with the most interesting stories and endless journeys of Paracelsus. You will not only read his life, his work and trips; but also the political and religious environment of his age. 

If you ever read anything about Paracelsus, you probably know that he traveled almost anywhere accessible in 16th century to learn how different people fight the diseases. He was outspoken, and he had "extreme" ideas and sometimes practices that gave him trouble. To him, schools were not really the only places that you can learn a profession: "At all the German schools, you cannot learn as much as the Frankfurt fair." Traveling was so important for him that once he said "If a man wishes to recognize many diseases, let him travel." 

I think the book is a fascinating work on Paracelsus. Unlike several other books, the book does not have a fixed idea on Paracelsus' character or whether we should take him seriously or not. This makes the book even more special by allowing us to have our own opinion.

I strongly recommend this book for science, medicine, philosophy, philosophy of science and chemistry enthusiasts. My personal opinion is that Paracelsus was a great man and scientist and we owe him a lot. Since I first heard of his name when I was a little boy, I always felt very close to him. What I like him the most as Philip Ball says "always he was no one's man but his own."

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