This is a professional-level intellectual history of the development of immunology from about 1720 to about 1970. Beginning with the work and insights of the early immunologists in the 18th century, Silverstein traces the development of the major ideas which have formed immunology down to the maturation of the discipline in the decade following the Second World War. Emphasis is placed on the philosophic and sociologic climate of the scientific milieu in which immunology has developed, providing a background to the broad culture of the discipline.

Key Features

  • A professional-level intellectual history of the development of immunology from about 1720 to 1970, with emphasis placed on the social climate of the scientific milieu in which modern immunology evolved
  • Written by an author very well known both as a historian of medical science and for his substantial research contributions to the immunopathology of the eye
  • The only complete history of immunology available


All immunologists; historians of medicine; historians of science and sociologists of science

Table of Contents

Preface. On History and Historians. Theories of Acquired Immunity. The Royal Experiment on Immunity: 1721-1722. Cellular versus Humoral Immunity: Determinants and Consequences of an Epic Nineteenth-Century Battle. Theories of Antibody Formation. The Concept of Immunologic Specificity. Immunologic Specificity, Continued. Horror Autotoxicus: The Concept of Autoimmunity. The Donath-Landsteiner Autoantibody: The Incommensurable Languages of Immunological Dispute. Allergy and Immunopathology: The Price of Immunity. Anti-antibodies and Anti-idiotype Immunoregulation: 1899-1904. Transplantation and Immunogenetics. Magic Bullets and Poisoned Arrows: The Uses of Antibody. Appendix A: The Calendar of Immunologic Progress. Appendix B: Nobel Prize Highlights in Immunology. Appendix C: Biographical Dictionary. Glossary. Name Index. Subject Index.


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© 1989
Academic Press
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Print ISBN:

About the author


"Energetic and overwhelmingly successful... The book is presented in a consistent and captivating style which will surely find its reward in a wide readership consisting of students and professionals engaged in diverse disciplines." --MOLECULAR IMMUNOLOGY

"This is as delightful book." --PATHOLOGY

"This work can be recommended with great enthusiasm. Its targeted audience is everyone." --HUMAN PATHOLOGY

"This History of Immunology is highly recommended to all immunologists; it also can be put to excellent use as an uncommonly lucid introductory Immunology text for medical students and graduate students in immunology." --Carel J. Van Oss, IMMUNILOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS

"A fascinating history. I recommend this volume highly to any physician or scientist with more than a casual interest in immunology and in the way our modern principles and applications evolved. It is described on the book jacket as a professional, intellectual history. I would go further to say that it is well crafted, and well written -- a pleasure to read." --JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

"He has written this book with young research workers in mind, to inform them of all the research that has gone into the study of immunology since the introduction of inoculation as a prophylactic measure in the first decades of the 18th century. The book is particularly strong on the controversies that raged over the respective merits of cellular and humoral immunity." --JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE

"Arthur Silverstein's A History of Immunology is sure to be the standard in the field upon which future efforts will be based... A comprehensive overview of the development of the major concepts of the discipline that is both descriptive and analytical... It is a fine piece of scholarship for all to enjoy and will undoubtedly form an indispensable starting point for future scholar