The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

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Media: BOOK - hardcover, 304 pages
Author: L. Fitzharris
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9780374117290
Other: index
Publisher: Scientific American

The gripping story of how Joseph Lister's antiseptic method changed medicine forever

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation. She conjures up early operating theaters--no place for the squeamish--and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These medical pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than their patients' afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn't have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the deadly riddle and change the course of history.

Fitzharris dramatically recounts Lister's discoveries in gripping detail, culminating in his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection--and could be countered by antiseptics. Focusing on the tumultuous period from 1850 to 1875, she introduces us to Lister and his contemporaries--some of them brilliant, some outright criminal--and takes us through the grimy medical schools and dreary hospitals where they learned their art, the deadhouses where they studied anatomy, and the graveyards they occasionally ransacked for cadavers.

Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.

Prologue: the age of agony
1. Through the lens
2. Houses of death
3. The sutured gut
4. The altar of science
5. The Napoleon of surgery
6. The frog's legs
7. Cleanliness and cold water
8. They're all dead
9. The storm
10. The glass garden
11. The Queen's abscess
Epilogue: The dark curtain, raised

"Warning: She spares no detail " - Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake 

"Fascinating and shocking." - Kirkus Reviews 

"The Butchering Art is medical history at its most visceral and vivid. It will make you forever grateful to Joseph Lister, the man who saved us from the horrors of pre-antiseptic surgery, and to Lindey Fitzharris, who brings to life the harrowing and deadly sights, smells, and souds of a nineteenth-century hospital" - Caitlin Doughty, author of From Here to Eternity


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The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

MSRP: $39.95
You save $10.00

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