Books for Researching Medicine for Your Historical Fiction

medicine, research, books, novels, historical fiction


I teach on-line classes on medical history before 1840 and Georgian and Regency military medicine. As a result, I've read a number of books on medical history. Below are some books to help get you started on your historical medicine research for your historical fiction.


A Field Guide to Germs Wayne Biddle. This is a quick and dirty guide to diseases.

Scurvy: How a Surgeon,A Mariner and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail Stephen R. Brown. AN interesting read with lots of insight into early theories of disease.

Captain of Death: The Story of Tuberculosis Thomas M Daniel. A scary read, especially in a time of rising drug resistant TB.

The Worst of Evils: The Fight Against Pain Thomas Dormandy. A fascinating look into pain relief, a relatively modern invention that we take for granted.

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery and Mystery Rob Dunn. Gross and fascinating stories from the history of medicine.

Doctors on Horesback: Pioneers of American Medicine James Thomas Flexner. A great look at the history of American medicine and the pioneers who helped develop it.

Western Medicine: An Illustrated History Irvine Loudon. A good overview of medical history.

Military Medicine:From Ancient Times to the 21st Century Jack Edward McCallum. A good overview of military medicine.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President Candice Millard. A lot of graphic details about what it was like to live and die with the medical limitations of the time,

The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery Wendy Moore. Excellent look into a time when medicine really began to change and the men who helped usher in those changes.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 Jim Murphy. Plagues, they aren't just for medieval Europe.

Blood & Guts: A Short History of Medicine Roy Porter. Another excellent history of medicine.

Stephan Talty. More soldiers used to die of disease than enemy fire as this book details.

Revolutionary Medicine 1700-1800 Keith C Wilbure M.D. A YA book that doesn't read like one. A very accessible text for anyone interested in historical medicine.

If you enjoyed these books then check out mine because they have medical history in them.


2 comments:

Sally Orr said...

Excellent list, Georgie
I'd also include (for overview) The Age of Agony by Guy Williams (tough to read).
Looking forward to your talk! Yay.

Georgie Lee said...

Thanks Sally!