"Medicine and Charity Before the Welfare State" offers a broad perspective on the relationship between charity and medicine from Middle Ages to the advent of welfare states in the 20th century. As America attempts to overhaul its health and welfare systems, this book deals with issues that are not only of historical significance but of current relevance as well. Medical history is analysed not just as an integral part of social history, but as offering a powerful insight into relations between donors, practitioners and patients and with the wider society. This volume emphasizes the changing balance of care' and cure' as the aim of medical charity, and shows how economic and political factors influence the varying forms of charity. Through detailed case studies, the authors highlight significant differences between various countries, and offer a critical vocabulary for grasping the issues raised.