When insulin was discovered in the early 1920s, even jaded professionals marveled at how it brought starved, sometimes comatose diabetics back to life. In this now-classic study, Michael Bliss unearths a wealth of material, ranging from scientists’ unpublished memoirs to the confidential appraisals of insulin by members of the Nobel Committee. He also resolves a longstanding controversy dating to the awarding of the Nobel to F. G. Banting and J. J. R. Macleod for their work on insulin: because each insisted on sharing the credit with an additional associate, medical opinion was intensely divided over the allotment of credit for the discovery. Bliss also offers a wealth of new detail on such subjects as the treatment of diabetes before insulin and the life-and-death struggle to manufacture it.
“The definitive history . . . well written, highly readable.”—London Review of Books
“The story of insulin’s discovery ought to be a novel . . . but Michael Bliss’s splendid account is just as absorbing as any fiction.”—Isis
“Bliss’s excellent account of the insulin story is a rare dissection of the anatomy of scientific discovery, and serves as a model of how rigorous historical method can correct the myths and legends sometimes perpetrated in the scientific literature.”—New Republic
“Scrupulously researched and compellingly readable . . . I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with an interest in diabetes, medical history, or medical scandal and gossip.”—British Medical Journal
"For diabetics who want to know why they are alive, for doctors, nurses and others who are concerned about diabetes, and for any person who has the slightest curiosity about the way medicine moves, this book will be a joy."--David Pyke