This book review is reprinted with the permission of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians
THE FACES OF HOMEOPATHY
by Julian Winston
Reviewed by Durr Elmore, ND, DHANP, DC
The Faces of Homeopathy: An Illustrated History of the First 200 Years
632 pages, hard bound, Great Auk Publishing, Tawa, New Zealand, 1998
Julian Winston is an artist. What he does, he does well. Many of us know him as the longtime editor of Homeopathy Today, and more recently editor of a New Zealand homeopathic journal. Many don't know that he is a top-notch pedal steel guitar player, author of the text on playing this instrument. Above all, Julian is a lover of homeopathy. He cares deeply about its colorful past, its present quandaries, and its future. He has been involved in homeopathy for years, and has become an outstanding homeopathic historian.
History can be both presented, and viewed, as fascinating or dull; as vitally important, or irrelevant. I believe that knowledge of the history of homeopathy is extremely important to modern homeopaths. History does repeat itself. Old differences, disputes, trends, and ways of practice tend to recur. By reflecting on past mistakes, we can avoid making similar mistakes in the present.
Is homeopathic history dull? Absolutely not, as presented in The Faces of Homeopathy. Julian has created a work of art that is fascinating; a book that is hard to put down. It is beautifully laid out, with hundreds of wonderful photographs and signatures, interspersed with always interesting, sometimes amazing, often humorous comments in the margins.
The physical aspects of the book are pleasing. From an intriguing outer jacket showing photographs, old remedy kits and other memorabilia, to opening the book and finding inside the cover a timeline of homeopathic history and events in the U.S., to the obvious top-quality of the binding, paper and printing, The Faces of Homeopathy looks and feels like a beautiful, fine book.
Julian gives us the whole history of homeopathy in a very colorful, human way. Names we have heard many times become real people when we see their pictures, read about of their lives, work, practices, health problems, etc. We get a feeling for, some understanding and appreciation, for pioneers such as Melanie and Samuel Hahnemann, Hering, Kent, Lippe, Jahr, Boenninghausen, Dunham, Allen, Boericke, Nash, Burnett, Clarke, Boger, Grimmer, and many, many more of our predecessors. They are presented in a down-to-earth, practical manner. As the subtitle implies, this book takes us up to the late 1990's. We even get biographies and tidbits about current leaders in homeopathy, including Vithoulkas, Bill Gray, Roger Morrison, Nancy Herrick. A chapter on The Naturopaths tells us about Paul Herscu, Amy Rothenberg, Andre Same, Stephen King, Sheryl Kipnis, Bob Ullman, Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, and Robin Murphy. In one volume we are given an overview of the rich history of homeopathy, from its beginning to the present. Its leaders are brought to life.
Julian's style is fascinating; every page is of interest; all important topics covered. We learn about the founding of the AIH, the early homeopathic colleges in the US, the IHA; the history of homeopathic pharmacies and potencies. Homeopathy's historical use in mental hospitals is covered. In "The struggle for equality and women in homeopathy" we learn that homeopathic medical colleges were the first medical institutions to admit women.
This book is focused on the history of homeopathy in America, but also provides the early history in Germany and France, as well as a later chapter giving an overview of homeopathy in Great Britain.
We read of the growth and flourishing of homeopathy, along with its problems, criticisms both internal and external, and its decline. Many homeopaths may know the early history of this healing art, but we have much to learn about homeopathy in the twentieth century. From the decline of homeopathy, and the story of those who kept the flame alive in the dark years, to its revival in the 1970's, and rapid growth in the 80's and 90's, we can see patterns and trends, and gain understanding for these waves of growth, decline, and new growth. Julian tells it like it is, even describing the infighting of homeopathic organizations, problems with homeopathic teachers, the detractors who seek to stamp out homeopathy forever, questionable pharmacy, and the legal battles which some homeopaths have undergone.
In the latter parts of the book, Julian takes us right up to date, describing the new books and journals, homeopathic software and internet contacts, and the current movement for certification through the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC). The final 130 pages of appendices cover a variety of topics I find amusing and enthralling.
The Faces of Homeopathy is "must reading" and should be in the library of every homeopath. We are fortunate to have this valuable addition to our literature. This is not simply a history of homeopathy, but a well-organized, easy to read, accurate description of homeopathy past and present. The Faces of Homeopathy is exceptional: a fascinating, wonderful look at homeopathy, its characters, challenges, obstacles and triumphs.
It is obvious to the reader that Faces is a labor of love. Hats off to Julian Winston for writing and creating this great book. It is not only well-written, but artistically presented, truly a work of art in homeopathic history. We are also given a clear description of current challenges facing homeopathy. By gaining an understanding and feel for our roots and past, we are better able to comprehend homeopathy in the present. With this knowledge, we can steer homeopathy on a course of renewed growth and acceptance, towards a sound and bright future.
Winter 1999 Volume XII No. 4