'There's no book like it. It's Saks' subject and he's good' - Roy Porter. This fascinating book explores the changing relationship between orthodox and alternative medicine in Britain and the United States from the sixteenth century to the present day. Mike Saks sees the development of orthodox and alternative medicine as two sides of the same coin and his analysis centers on the role of professionalization in health care. In the sixteenth century, the line between orthodox and alternative medicine was blurred. By the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the increasing professionalization of orthodox bio-medicine had marginalized medical alternatives. In recent years, following the growth of a strong counter-culture in the 1960s and 1970s, perceptions of the relationship between the two forms of practice have begun to change again. The de-professionalization of orthodox medicine is being debated, while ironically, alternative medicine has become increasingly professionalized.
Mike Saks considers the political dynamics of the process of professionalization, and looks at the dilemmas posed for both medical orthodoxy and alternative medicine in the development of a more integrated health care system in Britain and the United States in the future.