This book focuses on a formative period in the development of modern general practice. The foundations of present-day health care in Britain were created in the century before the National Health Service of 1948, when medicine was transformed in its structure, professional status, economicorganization, and therapeutic power. In the first full-length study of general practice for these years, Anne Digby deploys an impressive range of hitherto unused archival material and oral testimony to probe the character of general practitioners careers and practices, and to assess theirrelationships with local communities, a wider society, and the state. An evolutionary approach is adopted to explain the origins and nature of the many changes in medical practice, and the lives of ordinary doctors. The study also explores the gendered nature of medical practice as reflected in theexperience of a golden band of women GPs, and examines the hidden role of the doctors wife in the practice.