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Ten Drugs

How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine
Narrated by: Angelo Di Loreto
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (412 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Behind every landmark drug is a story. It could be an oddball researcher’s genius insight, a catalyzing moment in geopolitical history, a new breakthrough technology, or an unexpected but welcome side effect discovered during clinical trials. Piece together these stories, as Thomas Hager does in this remarkable, century-spanning history, and you can trace the evolution of our culture and the practice of medicine.   

Beginning with opium, the “joy plant,” which has been used for 10,000 years, Hager tells a captivating story of medicine. His subjects include the largely forgotten female pioneer who introduced smallpox inoculation to Britain, the infamous knockout drops, the first antibiotic, which saved countless lives, the first antipsychotic, which helped empty public mental hospitals, Viagra, statins, and the new frontier of monoclonal antibodies. This is a deep, wide-ranging, and wildly entertaining book.

©2019 Thomas Hager (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Engrossing to physicians & lay persons alike

As a physician, a scientist, and an all around nerd, my Audible library vacillates between SciFi and Historical non-fiction. Although this book firmly resides in the latter category, I found it completely captivating and engrossing more akin to a good drama. For the most part, the book comes off like a PBS documentary in its audiobook narration, but it is structured more like a dramatic story with you (or maybe I should say "humankind") positioned as the protagonist of this historical exploration drama. Thomas Hagar has done an excellent job in turning what could have been a very dry topic full of dates, names and anecdotal stories, into more of a first person exploration of the topic. I have at least a dozen titles in my Audible library on the topic of science and medicine, and "Ten Drugs" has instantly shot to the top of my list of favorites (in that category). It is easy to listen to, easy to digest, and ultimately very informative (and I'm pretty sure you'll find yourself bring up something you learned from this book the next time you're out with friends).

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable and Informative

Really enjoying this book. It is quite engaging despite the subject matter being entirely non-fiction. Love the narrator too, he reminds me of a radio drama narrator.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Despite pronunciation errors very good

Reader is unfamiliar with medical terminology
Many words were mispronounced. Still, a very informative and enjoyable book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I was hooked

Fantastic book! I’m a pharmacist and I couldn’t get enough of the back stories on many of these world changing drugs!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Should be required reading.

what an excellent balanced approach to the historical context of modern medicine. The love affair America has with medicine is almost comical considering the reality we have always been taking "Grandma:s Rhumatoid" medicine for something.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Like a good detective story

This is a fascinating book that made me want to go back to studying chemistry and molecular cell biology. The stories behind the drugs and other therapies pull you in like a good detective story. I feel that the author has a somewhat naive axe to grind against companies that have helped bring about so many discoveries, but it doesn’t diminish the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting book!

This was great! They managed to make this book interesting and alive! Careful tho,you might learn something!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful!!!!

Very informative and interesting. I learned a lot about the history of Drugs. The narrator was great. I highly recommend the audio book!!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very enlightening and entertaining

I know nothing about chemistry/biology/drugs etc but you don’t need to to enjoy this book. Lots of incredible insight on how drugs work with the body and constantly kept me entertained. Finished in like 2 days!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A good read

I liked the way that the author covered the drugs with stories. I thought that the histories of each one was entertaining.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Goronwy-Wyn
  • 04-02-19

The world of "cures" or maybe not.

From bigotry to big pharma and the corporate profit associated with your desire to live for ever...or not.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful