Despite having been the most common and deadly cancer of the twentieth century (first in the western world and later worldwide), lung cancer never attracted the same share of public attention and research funding as, say, breast cancer or leukaemia. Even historians of medicine and health, in fact, have paid little attention to that most stigmatised amongst a group of diseases already burdened with stigma. Carsten Timmermann's historical exploration of what he calls ‘the recalcitrant disease’ in Britain (with occasional excursuses into the American and the German contexts) from the nineteenth century to the present is therefore to be welcomed. The diagnosis and, more generally, the framing of the disease; the first surgical attempts at curing it; the many, highly dramatic public health issues it raised; the role played by...

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