Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine

Thomas Hager


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.

Creator Bio

Thomas Hager is an award-winning author of books on the history of science and medicine, including The Demon Under the Microscope. He is a Courtesy Associate Professor of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon.
Price £18.99
Format Hardback
Publication Date 25 March 2019
Pages 304
Height 229mm
Width 152mm
Illustrations 25 black-and-white illustrations
Rights Europe, Africa, Middle East
ISBN-13 9781419734403