Tag Archives: Joseph Lister

History and Medicine Combine in The Butchering Art – A Nonfiction Review

As children, we are molded by our parents. not just our beliefs and morals, but our habits and hobbies. My dad has been a reader for a long as I can remember. There were always magazine subscriptions and best-selling novels piled up by his favorite chair in the living room. When I was a teenager, I became addicted to reading The Smithsonian Magazine, often stalking the mailbox after school so that I could read it before Dad. (Sorry Dad, but not sorry…) This lead to snagging the novels, and discovering a love of both nonfiction and historical fiction.

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  • Title: The Butchering ArtAuthor:Lindsey Fitzharris
    Narrator:Ralph Lister
    Publisher:Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
    Audible Studios
    Released:October 17, 2017 /October 31,2017
    Language:English
    Pages:304
    Hours:7 hrs and 54 mins
    Format:Paperback / Audiobook

I came by The Butchering Art through happenstance. I was reading a Facebook post by the Ravenmaster, who mentioned being at a book signing with Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. I followed the links and found a post by Dr. Fitzharris about her book, The Butchering Art. I was absolutely fascinated by the premise of the book, a biography written in a storytelling style. I searched my local libraries, but to no avail. When I was out of options, I reached out to Lindsey on her Facebook page. She was amazingly supportive and gracious; she reached out to her publishing company to send me a copy.

I took my time reading The Butchering Art, there is such a depth of detail and colorful characters.  The timeline consists of the entirety of Joseph Lister’s schooling and medical career. While I tend to avoid biographies, preferring to focus on moments in history, rather than individuals; this book combines the two. Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris’s storytelling is captivating! She tells the story of a quiet, modest man who had a scientific mind and an obsession with ending the scourge of hospital-borne illnesses. Lister’s explorations in germ theory and antisepsis made me incredibly aware of how very lucky I am that Lister succeeded in educating the medical community about these issues. I’ve survived pneumonia, influenza, strep and a major surgery. If not for Dr. Lister, I may not have.

I then listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Ralph Lister, himself a distant relation of Joseph Lister. The Butchering Art, as an audiobook, is a delight to listen to. Mr. Lister’s narration is dynamic and captivating, with accents that bring life to the various personalities quoted. I found his slightly raspy voice engaging and impossible to ignore.

I can definitely recommend The Butchering Art for anyone who enjoys history, nonfiction, medicine, or has a strong stomach. Dr. Fitzharris doesn’t gloss over the horrors that was medicine in the Victorian Era, nor does she shirk from the details. This book is a journey from the dark ages of ignorance into the bright beginnings of scientific medicine.

About the Author:

Dr.
Photo Copyright of Adrian Teal

 

Lindsey Fitzharris has a PhD in the history of science and medicine from the University of Oxford. She is the creator of the popular website The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice, and is the writer and presenter of the YouTube series Under the Knife. She writes for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Lancet, and New Scientist. Visit her website at www.drlindseyfitzharris.com, follow her on Twitter at @DrLindseyFitz, and find her on Instagram at @drlindseyfitzharris.

 

 

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