Bullough has set himself the problem: How did medicine get to be a profession? Medicine, he believes, was one of the first groups to gain "professional recognition," and this process he tries to "examine historically."
What, then, is a profession? "In simple terms a profession is a high status group which has become institutionalized." Bullough tries to indicate the several steps whereby this institutionalization took place and the way medical men tried to achieve status. This latter step, it seems, involved formal organization, conflict with competing groups, and attempts to curry favor with authorities and to improve the public image.
In a brief 110 pages he races through medical history from ancient Egypt to the 15th century AD, picking out whatever information bears on this concept of "professionalization." Instead of bringing out the relation of medicine to the thought and culture of the times, Bullough presents isolated details and quotations,