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This volume which initially appeared in the Lancet, represents a final attempt to lay or exorcise the persistent pathologic ghost of Napoleon's last illness and death. It is based on a careful examination of the documents and a microscopic study of the specimens preserved from the autopsy. Of the authenticity of these specimens there seems to be still some slight doubt; but, accepting them as genuine, there seems good ground for accepting the author's conclusion that "the cause of Napoleon's death was cancer of the lesser curvature of the stomach developing on the site of an old gastric ulcer." There were also vesical calculi, and at the apex of the left lung some small healed foci of tuberculosis. On the basis of the clinical history, and considering the medical knowledge and diagnostic methods of the time, Chaplin attempts a defence of the physicians who have been so severely criticized for their treatment of the Emperor. An appendix contains the brief biographies of these four physicians; a second, the story of the specimens, which are preserved in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London; and a third an account of the exhumation of Napoleon on Oct. 16, 1840. There is a melancholy grandeur of interest associated with this final clinico-pathologic study of Napoleon's case, as with all that pertains to the history of the great Corsican.
When Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan visited Yosemite National Park, they both called out Fredrick Law Olmsted as a major influence and inspiration for their documentary film, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." To celebrate Mr. Olmsted and his contributions to our National Parks, the Yosemite Conservancy, in partnership with Heyday Books, has reprinted "Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove: A Preliminary Report, 1865" with a new foreword by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. This seminal book is a must read for anyone interested in the National Parks and our public lands. The first eloquent expression of the need for conservation in 1865 is found in this remarkable and prescient report by Frederick Law Olmsted. No statement since has been so cogent or powerful. Pristine natural landscapes, Olmsted observed, provide people with "refreshing rest and re-invigoration." They are good -- perhaps essential -- for the soul. Which is why, he noted, that from time immemorial they have most often become the exclusive domain of any society's most privileged classes, "a monopoly, in a very peculiar manner, of a very few, very rich people." Olmsted believed a great democracy had a greater obligation: "to provide means of protection for all its citizens in the pursuit of happiness." That meant, he argued, that "the establishment by government of great public grounds for the free enjoyment of the people ...is thus justified and enforced as a political duty." Olmsted gave additional reasons for creating public parks, including that they are undeniably good for the local, state, and national economy because of the tourist business they engender. His report also included practical advice about building roads and shelters, as well as instituting regulations to zealously protect the "dignity of the scenery." All of his points are as pertinent today as they were when he first read them to his fellow Yosemite commissioners nearly 150 years ago. But in deliberately borrowing from our nation's founding document, which proclaims that the "pursuit of happiness" is among the inalienable rights of every human being, and in attaching that notion to why Yosemite (or any other future park) should not be allowed to become "a rich man's park," Olmsted infused the national park idea with its most enduring principle."
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