The Knife Man: The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery

Wendy Moore, Author . Broadway $26 (341p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1652-3

Brilliant anatomist, foul-mouthed and well met, avid empiricist and grave robber, John Hunter cut an astonishing figure in Georgian England. Born in Scotland in 1728, he followed his brother, a renowned physician, to London and into the intellectually grasping, fiercely competitive world of professional medicine. With ample servings of 18th-century filth and gore, Moore offers a vivid look at this remarkable period in science history, when many of the most impressive advances were made by relentless iconoclasts like Hunter. In an age when ancient notions of bodily humors still smothered medical thinking, Hunter challenged orthodoxy whenever facts were absent—which was usually the case. A prodigious experimenter—to the point of obsession—he dissected thousands of corpses and countless animals (many of them living) in his effort to define the nature of the human body. Yet he was also an early adherent of medical minimalism, shunning bloodletting by default and advocating physical therapy over invasive surgeries. This is a deftly written and informative tale that will please readers of science history, period buffs and everyone in between. (Oct. 1)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Paperback - 429 pages - 978-0-553-81618-1
Open Ebook - 243 pages - 978-0-307-41945-3
Hardcover - 482 pages - 978-0-593-05209-9
Paperback - 341 pages - 978-0-7679-1653-0
Open Ebook - 656 pages - 978-1-4090-4462-8
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