The Knife Man

Front Cover
Bantam, 2006 - 638 pages
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 his back door.
Meticulously researched, The Knife Man is a fascinating portrait of a scientist determined to haul surgery out of the realm of superstition and into the dawn of modern medicine.

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User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

John Hunter rose from a poor Scottish farming family to become one of the leading men of science and medicine. His courage (he inserted a knife's point covered in pus into his urethra to see if ... Read full review

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User Review  - NineLarks - LibraryThing

This was a bit of an interesting read that takes you back into the late 1700's and headfirst into the medical fields where surgery is starting to emerge from the barbers as a more prestigious field ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Wendy Moore is a writer and journalist. After working as a reporter for local newspapers she has specialized in health and medical topics for more than twenty years. As a freelance journalist her work has been published in a range of newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Observer and the British Medical Journal, and has won several awards. Having written extensively on medical history, she obtained the Diploma in the History of Medicine from the Society of Apothecaries (DHMSA) in 1999 and won the Maccabean prize for best dissertation that year. She lives in south London with her partner, Peter, also a journalist, and two children, Sam and Susannah. The Knife Man is her first book.

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