The Enlightened Mr. Parkinson: The Pioneering Life of a Forgotten Surgeon

Cherry Lewis. Pegasus, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-68177-454-1
Lewis, a research scholar at the University of Bristol, lifts from the shadows of history the fascinating story of James Parkinson (1755–1824), the Enlightenment-age surgeon-apothecary who first described the neurodegenerative condition that now bears his name. Parkinson emerges as a committed naturalist—he was among the founders of the Geological Society of London and compiled an unparalleled collection of fossils—and doctor (one of the first in London to offer smallpox vaccinations), as well as a fearless warrior for social justice during the turbulent dawning of the Industrial Revolution. Yet Parkinson’s name lives on because of his 1817 work “Essay on the Shaking Palsy,” a pamphlet favorably received in its day that nevertheless went on to be seen as “just another pamphlet in his long list of publications.” However, Parkinson’s groundbreaking work, as Lewis notes, represented a “farsighted, questioning approach” that “left us with a remarkable scientific and medical legacy.” Lewis’s lively, captivating biography illuminates the life and work of a pioneer who may have largely faded from medical history, but whose curiosity and passion are as relevant today as they were 200 years ago. Agent: Peter Tallack, Science Factory. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 08/08/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-68177-495-4
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