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

4.01 (2,717 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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. In this sensational and macabre story, we meet the surgeon who counted not only luminaries Benjamin Franklin, Lord Byron, Adam Smith, and Thomas Gainsborough among his patients but also "resurrection men" among his close acquaintances. A captivating portrait of his ruthless devotion to uncovering the secrets of the human body, and the extraordinary lengths to which he went to do so--including body snatching, performing pioneering medical experiments, and infecting himself with venereal disease--this rich historical narrative at last acknowledges this fascinating man and the debt we owe him today.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 341 pages
  • 137.16 x 205.74 x 22.86mm | 294.83g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0767916530
  • 9780767916530
  • 87,224

Review quote

Praise for the Knife Man The surgeon John Hunter (1728 93) is not a well-known name outside specialist circles, although that scandalous situation should be corrected by Wendy Moore s marvelous biography. The Times Higher Definitely not for the squeamish, Moore s visceral portrait of this complex and brilliant man offers a wonderful insight into sickness, suffering, and surgery in the 18th century. The Guardian (UK) Moore s feel for pace and narrative is impeccable. Her book contains just the right amount of background scenery to bring Hunter alive without swamping him. She is, at last, the biographer Hunter deserves. The Independent"show more

About Wendy Moore

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. From the Hardcover edition.show more

Flap copy

The vivid, often gruesome portrait of the 18th century pioneering surgeon and father of modern medicine, John Hunter. In the gothic horror story, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the house of the genial doctor turned fiend is reputedly based on the home of the 18th century surgeon and anatomist John Hunter. The choice was understandable, for Hunter combined an altruistic determination to advance scientific knowledge with dark dealings that brought him into daily contact with the sinister Georgian underworld. In 18th century London, Hunter was a man both acclaimed and feared. John Hunter revolutionized surgical practice through his groundbreaking experiments. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, he dissected thousands of human bodies, using the knowledge he gained to improve medical care for countless patients, including some very illustrious people, Joshua Reynolds and Lord Byron among them. He was appointed Surgeon Extraordinary to King George III. In The Knife Man, Wendy Moore unveils a world characterized by hangings at the Tyburn Tree, by gruesome expeditions to dank churchyards, and by countless human dissections in attic rooms - large sums were paid to body-snatchers for stolen corpses which were delivered to Hunter's back door. Meticulously researched, it is also a fascinating portrait of a scientist determined to haul surgery out of the realm of superstition and into the dawn of modern medicine.show more

Rating details

2,717 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 36% (973)
4 39% (1,050)
3 19% (513)
2 4% (118)
1 2% (63)
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