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This collection of essays presents fresh interpretations of the growth of medico-legal ideas, institutions and practices in Britain, Europe and America over the past four hundred years. Based on a wealth of new research, it brings the historical study of legal medicine firmly into the realm of social history. Case studies of infanticide, abortion, coroners’ inquests and criminal insanity show that legal medicine has often been the focus of social change and political controversy.
The contributors also emphasise the formative influence of legal systems on medico-legal knowledge and practice. Legal Medicine in History enlarges our understanding of the public role of medicine in modern western societies, while opening up new perspectives on social, cultural and political history.