Author: William James Maloney

The Medical Lives of History’s Famous People

eBook: US $42 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $122
Printed Copy: US $101
Library License: US $168
ISBN: 978-1-60805-937-9 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-936-2 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2014
DOI: 10.2174/97816080593621140101


The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People highlights the effects of various diseases on the public lives of famous individuals in history. The contents of this book include chapters on the historical facts concerning Babe Ruth`s heroic battle with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, the oral cancer affecting Sigmund Freud, Celiac disease (the cause of president John F. Kennedy`s lifelong medical travails), porphyria (the condition afflicting King George), Hemophilia (the ‘Royal disease’) and much more.

The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People is an interesting and valuable resource for general readers and researchers, alike, seeking historical information about several medical ailments.


“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use” -Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Many lessons can be learned from examining the medical lives of the famous people throughout history. First and foremost is that nobody is exempt from physical sufferings, pain, ailments and the eventual death which all humans experience equally regardless of oneʼs fame or finances. Nobody escapes. As Shakespeare wrote in ʻHamletʼ, “To die: - to sleep: No more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, ʻtis a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

All individuals deal with challenges in life differently. Celebrities are no different. Some, like Babe Ruth, think about helping others through their very own suffering. Some, like President Franklin Roosevelt, become more in touch with the sufferings of others and actually become more successful because of their physical challenges. Others are like President Kennedy who thought he had to suffer in private while trying desperately to be the larger-than-life person that society wanted him to be.

Authors have also given us fictional characters which examine all too real issues which all of us face during the course of our life. Such is true with Shakespeareʼs Othello, Fitzgeraldʼs Benjamin Button, and Dickensʼ Tiny Tim.

Rich or poor, famous or anonymous, ruler or subject, beloved or despised- we all share the same basic human experiences throughout our lifeʼs journey. Maybe the real lesson to be learned by the medical challenges of the famous is to stop and analyze how we face our own lifeʼs challenge.

William James Maloney