- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1843 KB
- Print Length: 260 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (17 October 2017)
- Sold by: Penguin UK
- Language: English
- ASIN: B073XWDLG1
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 760 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,615 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine Kindle Edition
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|Length: 260 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
From the Back Cover
'The Butchering Art is a brilliant and gripping account of the almost unimaginable horrors of surgery and post-operative 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 and Admissions
'In The Butchering Art, Lindsey Fitzharris becomes our Dante, leading us through the macabre hell of nineteenth-century surgery. With gusto, Dr. Fitzharris takes us into the operating 'theatres' 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 Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City
'Medical history at its most visceral and vivid. It will make you forever grateful to Joseph Lister, 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 and From Here to Eternity
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If you thought battlefield surgery was brutal long before the present, hospital surgery and care was just as horrendous. In detailing the influences and motivations of the most influential doctor of the 19th century with regards to sepsis and antisepsis the reader is immersed in the horrors that comprised the hospital care of the day. If one is naive enough to believe that nosocomial infections are only a product of careless use of antibiotics today, this will set the record straight. It was a hard-won victory to convince such a hide bound profession to accept as truth what the microscope proved. Along the way the reader is given a glimpse of the judicial system and the horrors of the industrial revolution. Extremely well researched and graphically written.
Two disclaimers: I have been a RN since 1968. Also, I had originally requested and received a free review copy via NetGalley, but was unable to sight read it. Recently I bought an audio copy and feel that Ralph Lister gave an exceptional audio performance as narrator. I also feel that his British accent is a definite plus.
Top international reviews
Lindsey Fitzharris’s new biography of Joseph Lister makes it all too clear how a failure to understand the causes of infection, combined with (to us) utterly horrifying disregard of even basic hygiene, led to death from sepsis, gangrene and other infections that we would now recognise arose from bacterial infection. And not only patients died, doctors who handled infected patients or who cut themselves during surgery (which had to be performed at lightning speed before anaesthetics became available) also died of infection. Ironically the advent of anaesthesia actually increased mortality because more operations could be performed.
Lister’s Quaker background and his father’s improvements to the microscope combined with Lister’s own talents as a surgeon resulted eventually in success after many years of struggling to improve patient survival rates and eliminate deaths from infection. But Lister had not only to develop methods of keeping wounds clean and free from infection, and a theory of why the techniques worked, he had also to fight a medical profession whose models of the causes of disease rejected any notion that ‘germs’ might have a part to play.
By the time my grandmother heard Lister lecture he was a grand old man of the profession, but that position was hard won. Without his persistence and meticulous scientific approach modern surgery would be impossible, deaths from even minor injuries common and childbirth frequently fatal. In a world threatened with the loss of antibiotics we do well to remember how critical his discoveries were. Lindsey Fitzharris has written a thoroughly researched and highly readable account of how Lister changed the world. What a pity there are no illustrations, nevertheless it makes a gripping read.
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Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, Lindsey recreates the horrors of early Victorian hospitals, where surgeons carried out surgical procedures without anaesthetic, in the most unsanitary of conditions. Against this grim background, she weaves the pioneering work of Joseph Lister, whose antiseptic régime saved thousands of lives. The Butchering Art is an inspiring story told through a compelling narrative - highly recommended!
The author uses a journalistic turn of phrase which will appeal to some readers but not others. The fact that in the 1850's surgeons were still opining, 'you stood a better chance at Waterloo than in a hospital', tells you everything about survival rates for even the most routine operation.
The main body of the work is about Lister's discovery of 'germ theory' and his struggle to convince a sceptical profession of the value of antiseptics. The biography ends rather abruptly with Lister's return to London around 1877 and the following 35 years of his life are condensed into a handful of pages. The author writes an 'Acknowledgements' section of heroic proportions.
Given the glowing reviews and status as top Non-Fiction of 2017, this is a strangely disjointed book. It is worth reading but is it a biography or a social history? Starts exceptionally well but then loses its mojo.
Despite being very science based, the book is 'laced' with fascinating anecdotes of Joseph Lister's work & career.
I found it very enjoyable & a fascinating insight into how surgery, anaesthesia & medical practices have evolved over the years, written in a way the lay person can understand.
There are no photographs or illustrations anywhere in the book. Not even of Mr Lister himself. She - the author - doesn't always give definitions of the medical terms used in the book. There is little background on many of the people in the book, such as Doctor Symes.
While it's an enjoyable read, it feels a little rushed in places.
A wonderful piece of history told with a great balance of Listers home aanad work life.
A must read!
I genuinely feel lost now i have finished this book.
Joseph Lister was a toweringly important figure in the transformation of medical treatment from, quite literally, the butchering of the unfortunate public into something more closely resembling modern medicine, and richly deserves this comprehensively researched and well written account of his life and times.
Coming to this book soon after watching the BBC sitcom Quacks, I was actually taken aback at the parallels between comedic fiction and real life.
Building on Pasteur's insights, Lister struggled to convince the medical establishment of the truth of germ theory - without which his antiseptic surgical techniques would have been pretty meaningless. But he proselytised his theories and demonstrated his techniques endlessly down the years, until eventually a new generation of surgeons schooled in his approach became the new establishment.
Lindsey Fitzharris tells an often gory story with verve and enthusiasm. I read this book through in a single day, and enjoyed every minute of it.