The butchering art : Joseph Lister's quest to transform the grisly world of Victorian medicine

by Fitzharris, Lindsey, 1982-

Format: Print Book 2017.
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 14 copies
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Brentwood Library New Non Fiction 617.092 Fitzharris
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CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection RD27.35.L57 F58 2017
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Community Library of Castle Shannon Non Fiction 617.092 Fitzharr
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Summary

Winner, 2018 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing
Short-listed for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
A Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly
A Best History Book of 2017, The Guardian

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

In The Butchering Art , the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theaters--no place for the squeamish--and surgeons, who, working before anesthesia, were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than 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 riddle and change the course of history.

Fitzharris dramatically reconstructs Lister's career path to his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection and could be countered by a sterilizing agent applied to wounds. She introduces us to Lister's contemporaries--some of them brilliant, some outright criminal--and leads us through the grimy schools and squalid hospitals where they learned their art, the dead houses where they studied, and the cemeteries they 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.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In the nineteenth century, surgery was not exactly science or art but rather a dicey and gruesome affair. Prior to the discovery and widespread use of anesthetic agents, patients were awake during their operations, enduring unimaginable pain and horror. And if they survived the surgical procedure, death from postoperative infection remained a big risk. Medical historian Fitzharris captures the chaos, personalities, and bumpy evolution of surgery during the Victorian period. The star of the story is the man who devoted much of his life searching for the source and solution to the problem of hospital infections. Born in 1827, Joseph Lister was religious and driven by scientific curiosity. He contracted a mild case of smallpox, suffered from depression, and was a bit of a hypochondriac. He experimented on frog legs and corresponded with Louis Pasteur. He was interested in how wounds healed. Lister's advocacy of antiseptic principles in surgery was revolutionary but a hard sell. He traveled across Europe and America, arguing for the acceptance of germ theory and promoting disinfection. Hygiene had its hero.--Miksanek, Tony Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "British science writer Fitzharris slices into medical history with this excellent biography of Joseph Lister, the 19th-century "hero of surgery." Lister championed the destruction of microorganisms in surgical wounds, thus preventing deadly postoperative infections. This was a radical approach inspired by French microbiologist and chemist Louis Pasteur's discovery of bacteria. Lister, whose Quaker father introduced him to the wonders of the microscope, became an evangelist for the germ theory of disease and the sterilization of both surgical instruments and doctors' hands. The medical community resisted Lister's procedures, but his successful treatment of Queen Victoria boosted his reputation and techniques-winning converts first in Scotland, then America, and finally London. "Lister's methods transformed surgery from a butchering art to a modern science, one where newly tried and tested methodologies trumped hackneyed practices," Fitzharris writes. She infuses her thoughtful and finely crafted examination of this revolution with the same sense of wonder and compassion Lister himself brought to his patients, colleagues, and students. "As he neared the end of his life, Lister expressed the desire that if his story was ever told, it would be done through his scientific achievements alone," Fitzharris notes, respecting his wish and fulfilling it in the context of a remarkable life and time. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Lister, Joseph, -- Baron, -- 1827-1912.
Surgeons -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Surgery -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Biographies.
Publisher New York :2017.
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 286 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 235-266) and index.
ISBN 9780374117290
0374117292
Other Classic View