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Hyde, he based the house of the genial doctor-turned-fiend on the home of John Hunter. The choice was understandable, for Hunter was both widely acclaimed and greatly feared. From humble origins, John Hunter rose to become the most famous anatomist and surgeon of the eighteenth century. In an age when operations were crude, extremely painful, and often fatal, he rejected medieval traditions to forge a revolution in surgery founded on pioneering scientific experiments.

Using the knowledge he gained from countless human dissections, Hunter worked to improve medical care for both the poorest and the best-known figures of the era—including Sir Joshua Reynolds and the young Lord Byron. An insatiable student of all life-forms, Hunter was also an expert naturalist. He kept exotic creatures in his country menagerie and dissected the first animals brought back by Captain Cook from Australia. Ultimately his research led him to expound highly controversial views on the age of the earth, as well as equally heretical beliefs on the origins of life more than sixty years before Darwin published his famous theory.

This is a fascinating portrait of a remarkable pioneer and his determined struggle to haul surgery out of the realms of meaningless superstitious ritual and into the dawn of modern medicine. Written in My Own Heart's Blood. The Professor and the Madman. The True History of the Elephant Man. They All Love Jack. Complete Jack The Ripper. What Killed Jane Austen? And other medical mysteries, marvels and. A Life in Medicine. The Thames Torso Murders. Digging Up the Dead. What's in a Surname? The Science of Sherlock Holmes. He was never given the title of Doctor, oddly enough, because surgeons were not considered physicians, though from what I can tell from the book, John Hunter was a lot more effective than any of his so-titled colleagues.

This book is very detailed and includes illustrations and pictures depicting a selection of Hunter's anatomic preparations he was England's most experienced anatomist, meaning h This is an excellent biography of John Hunter, who is considered to be the father of modern surgery.

The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery by Wendy Moore

This book is very detailed and includes illustrations and pictures depicting a selection of Hunter's anatomic preparations he was England's most experienced anatomist, meaning he'd cut up more illegally-obtained human corpses than anyone else and also includes excerpt's from Hunter's own notes as well as those of various students at his and his brother's anatomy school. Surgeries are explicitly described, enough to make you shudder at your own mental picture.

This isn't a fast read, really, but it's fascinating. If you have any interest at all in scientific deduction and human progress, this might be a good read for you. I found it at Half Price Books! Jul 30, bup rated it really liked it Shelves: By the rules of non-fiction books, there must be a subtitle - and this one's a doozy: More-so than his physician contemporaries, in fact, who were still adjusting humours as the ancient Greek texts taught them.

The book is a nice mix of body snatching escapades, Mary-Shelley-worthy di By the rules of non-fiction books, there must be a subtitle - and this one's a doozy: The book is a nice mix of body snatching escapades, Mary-Shelley-worthy dissections in dank labs, real anatomical history, and a nice portrait of London in the 's. The world clearly needs people like John Hunter, people who push boundaries and go that much further in the pursuit of knowledge. Reading this made me so grateful for the advances of modern surgery and dentistry. And now I have an urge to read medical and natural history journals, and expand my mind!

Feb 22, Sharon rated it really liked it Shelves: Don't be misled by the either the title of this book or its chapters. While they all sound sensational and are apt to grab your attention, this is a serious biography of John Hunter and the history of medicine and surgery in the 's. I found it a fascinating look at both, and came away with a great respect for Mr. Hunter as the "Founder of Scientific Surgery".

The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery

Jan 17, Michelle rated it really liked it. What a fascinating book—I had no idea that one person made so much progress for medicine! I wondered if I might be squeamish, but somehow Wendy Moore's excellent writing made it all very interesting. It's odd that I'm mad at people who aren't even alive anymore because of the way they restricted him or tried to steal his ideas.

Now I'm anxious for to come the Hunterian Museum is closed until then. Jul 21, Susan Gallagher rated it it was amazing.


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Passionate about biology and anatomy, and seemed genuinely likeable too. By the end of the book I felt like I knew him so well, I actually got a little choked up when he died. Sep 05, Kathy added it. Intense and interesting read. Surprised he wasn't burned at the stake for Heresy. I truly enjoyed discovering the biography of such a man as, his accomplishments and insights into so many medical fields are absolutely amazing.

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I still can't believe one man alone could be such an astounding forerunner -from anatomy to surgery, dentistry and else! What's more, John Hunter's curiosity, bizarre interests and incredible ability to think outside the box led him, not only to blaze paths in many medical fields but, also, to foresee evolution as a Darwin would later d What a character! What's more, John Hunter's curiosity, bizarre interests and incredible ability to think outside the box led him, not only to blaze paths in many medical fields but, also, to foresee evolution as a Darwin would later describe it well, nearly!

About, the pages dedicated here to his collection the now fascinating Hunterian Museum in London are a marvel, Wendy Moore managing to convey beautifully in words the ideas, bold and dangerous at the time, that Hunter wanted to convey through the very particular display of his items -skulls of humans and monkeys put side by side, freaks of nature showing an innate ability for organisms to mutate, striking similarities between different species of animals and plants hinting at common ancestors etc. Hunter's way of thinking, coupled with his morbid and strange interests, was so far ahead it's amazing!

More, this biography is not only a fascinating read for its subject -an hard working, original, incredible and eccentric genius- but, for the whole picture the author brings to us. It is indeed a great snapshot of Georgian society, its ethic and moral, from the teaching of medicine and, social inequalities and their impact on medical practices, to the Resurectionits and their dirty but useful and necessary deeds. It also manages to put each topic in perspective -for instance by retelling the history of the sicknesses and medical fields discussed, in a simple but very relevant and straightforward way.

Thus, beyond the life of a brilliant and colourful man, we have here the beautiful portrait of a time where science in its practice and medicine in particular was at a crucial crossroad. Linking it all in such a manner John Hunter, his time and how he changed so many things Wendy Moore has done a fantastic job. The whole is a great read, broad and instructive, from beginning to end. Apr 21, Lara rated it it was amazing Shelves: Purely from the standpoint of a girl reading a book, this one was highly absorptive, thoughtfully composed, and sprang to life with rich, vivid emotions and a whole lot of visceral pain.

No matter how you vivisect it, this book is a compelling achievement. Howev Purely from the standpoint of a girl reading a book, this one was highly absorptive, thoughtfully composed, and sprang to life with rich, vivid emotions and a whole lot of visceral pain. In the peripheries, however, I once again took note that every human advancement is built on the backs of squealing creatures with their bellies slit open in four places or throats stuffed with worms.

Moore's comparison of Hunter to Dr. Hyde was a deeply apt one. A family man, a genuine lover of animals, nature, and knowledge who always treated his "social inferiors" with respect and compassion, Hunter was also capable of dealing out immense suffering. I've always figured that every medical man prior to the advent of anesthetics had to be capable of switching off their empathy, or at least muffling it in the darkest corner of their mind.

As a psychological portrait and commentary on human nature, The Knife Man is both exhilarating and unsettling, but most importantly, it is thoroughly researched with incredible attention to detail. In other words, the book is great. I just don't know sometimes how I feel about humans, us "perfect animals," as Hunter would phrase it. Jun 09, Ann Stone rated it really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical account of comparative anatomy and physiology in its infancy. John Hunter was a true medical scientist and researcher.

He was an extraordinary surgeon -- always changing his technique to follow the situation and incorporate his observations from past experience. As obvious as this may seem in this day and age, it seems that the physician's duty in Georgian England to follow the status quo. Hunter didn't ever conform to that way of life and we are far richer f I thoroughly enjoyed this historical account of comparative anatomy and physiology in its infancy.

Hunter didn't ever conform to that way of life and we are far richer for it. He skillfully and delicately dissected any living creature or portion thereof in order to learn the intricacies of life. His unpopular observations about evolution predates those of Darwin. His medical lectures were the most popular of the time and many students attended lectures repeatedly. Not because they didn't understand the content but because the content grew and changed as Hunter's knowledge grew and his opinions changed. Hunter's anatomical work actually, the route by which he obtained his human specimens inspired Mary Shelley to create Dr.

Hunter remained dedicated to his science to the end, leaving over a thousand preparations and samples from his museum. Even though he was an established physician and his opinion widely sought by his peers, he didn't become a wealthy man. It was his hope that his museum of preparations and skeletons would be treasured and purchased by London so it could be available for study. But this was not to be. Upon his death, much of his property was sold, his museum dismantled, and his manuscripts largely plagarized by his brother-in-law.

Still, his contribution to modern science and medicine is very much alive. Jan 16, Audacia Ray rated it really liked it Shelves: A fascinating and sometimes gorily-detailed biography of an eighteenth century surgeon, anatomist, and naturalist. Wendy Moore really transports you into Hunter's anatomy rooms and takes you into the grisly depths of rotting corpses, meticulous anatomical preparatio A fascinating and sometimes gorily-detailed biography of an eighteenth century surgeon, anatomist, and naturalist.

Wendy Moore really transports you into Hunter's anatomy rooms and takes you into the grisly depths of rotting corpses, meticulous anatomical preparations, and ill-advised surgeries. There are actually TWO Hunters who are significant in the history of surgery, medicine, and anatomy: John Hunter, who the book focuses on, and William Hunter, his older brother. Both are really interesting figures - John was more brash and outlandish he drove a carriage pulled by Asian buffalos , William was more professionalized he was obstetrician to royalty - I'd be interested in Moore's rationale for her focus on John.

Though it would've been a very different book, I'd have been interested to see more written about William's work and the space each of them created in medical culture and British society at large. Nov 29, Amyss rated it it was amazing. This is a must read, for everyone with a brain.

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If you think this book will be dry, or boring, I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. The book is a must read, and I mean that not in an Oprah book club style, "Oh girl, you must read this! It is a must read because these are the things we do not but MUST know and ponder; to stop taking for granted our aspirins and penicillin and the very existence of something that can be described as "minor surgery".

WE must wr This is a must read, for everyone with a brain. WE must wrap our brains around these things as the miracle they are, and realize the the great minds, the great leaps, what had to be done to get to where we are. It is not pretty, it is real. It is amazing, eye opening, and shame on you if you look away. These men particularly THIS man needs to be known, his work understood, his life celebrated.

An incredible book recommended to me by Marsha. It's a little history, a little science, a little adventure, all tied up in a meticulously researched, well written narrative. John Hunter was a fascinating person. Moore dodges a lot of the typical stumbling blocks I've seen in books of this nature. She balances detail heavy descriptions and archival research with a lively writing style. She manages to write a chronological story but still have strong defined themes. She sketches connections betwe An incredible book recommended to me by Marsha.

Absolutely and completely fascinating story about medical pioneer John Hunter. It seems to be that war and unscrupulousness were essential to the early innovators of the medical and dental practices of the eighteenth century, practices that still relied much on the ancient Greeks for their knowledge and methods. Deadly experiments, body snatching at an alarming rate and some truly inventive individuals made this time in medical history fascinating and dangerous. And John Hunter was right in the Absolutely and completely fascinating story about medical pioneer John Hunter.

And John Hunter was right in the middle of it. This was a very well done biography on the man and the era.


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  8. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. Wendy Moore worked as a journalist and freelance writer for more than 25 years. She has always been interested in history, and as a result, began researching the history of medicine.

    The Knife Man is her first book. Wendy Moore is a writer and journalist specializing in health and medical topics. She has a diploma in the History of Medicine from the Society of Apothecaries. The Knife Man is her first book. Praise for the Knife Man: Her book contains just the right amount of background scenery to bring Hunter alive without swamping him. Buy the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. About The Knife Man In an era when bloodletting was considered a cure for everything from colds to smallpox, surgeon John Hunter was a medical innovator, an eccentric, and the person to whom anyone who has ever had surgery probably owes his or her life.

    Also by Wendy Moore. About Wendy Moore Wendy Moore is a writer and journalist specializing in health and medical topics. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Praise Praise for the Knife Man: