BOOKS 2017-11-10T13:10:40+00:00

“In The Butchering Art, Lindsey Fitzharris becomes our Dante, leading us through the macabre hell of nineteenth-century surgery to tell the story of Joseph Lister, the man who solved one of medicine’s most daunting and lethal puzzles. With gusto, Dr. Fitzharris takes us into the operating theaters of yore as Lister awakens to the true nature of the killer that turned so many surgeries into little more than slow-moving executions. Warning: She spares no detail!” ―Erik Larson, bestselling author of The Devil in the White City

“With an eye for historical detail and an ear for vivid prose, Lindsey Fitzharris tells a spectacular story about one of the most important moments in the history of medicine: the rise of sterile surgery. The Butchering Art is a spectacular book―deliciously gruesome and utterly gripping. You will race through it, wincing as you go, but never wanting to stop.” ―Ed Yong, bestselling author of I Contain Multitudes

The Butchering Art is medical history at its most visceral and vivid. It will make you forever grateful to Joseph Lister, the man who saved us from the horrors of pre-antiseptic surgery, and to Lindsey Fitzharris, who brings to life the harrowing and deadly sights, smells, and sounds of a nineteenth-century hospital.” ―Caitlin Doughty, bestselling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 

The Butchering Art is a brilliant and gripping account of the almost unimaginable horrors of surgery and postoperative infection before Joseph Lister transformed it all with his invention of antisepsis. It is the story of one of the truly great men of medicine and of the triumph of humane scientific method and dogged persistence over dogmatic ignorance.” ―Henry Marsh, bestselling author of Do No Harm

Electric. The drama of Lister’s mission to shape modern medicine is as exciting as any novel.” ―Dan Snow, BBC presenter and author 

“An absolutely fascinating and grisly read that vividly brings to life the world of the Victorian operating theatre.”  ―Catharine Arnold, author of Necropolis

“Excellent . . . [Fitzharris] infuses her thoughtful and finely crafted examination of this [antiseptic] revolution with the same sense of wonder and compassion Lister himself brought to his patients, colleagues, and students . . . a remarkable life and time.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Fitzharris knows how to engage readers in fascinating and shocking details about medical history . . . In deftly capturing an ‘epochal moment when medicine and science merged,’ the author also offers an important reminder that, while many regard science as the key to progress, it can only help in so far as people are willing to open their minds to embrace change.” Kirkus Reviews

“A slightly gory, occasionally humorous, and very enjoyable biography of a man whose kindness, care, and curiosity changed medicine forever.” ―Susanne Caro, Library Journal

The Butchering Art is thoroughly enjoyable, tapping into the morbid pleasure of rubbernecking at the horrors of the past – safe in the knowledge that wounds today are not packed with damp earth, as they were for casualties in the American civil war.” The Observer

“A fine read full of vivid detail, prompting thoughtful reflection on the past, and the challenging future, of surgical practice.” Nature 

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