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The Butchering Art

Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
Narrated by: Sam Woolf
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)
Regular price: £19.99
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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, read by Sam Woolf.

In The Butchering Art, historian Lindsey Fitzharris re-creates a critical turning point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today.

Victorian operating theatres were known as 'gateways of death', Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didn't survive the experience. This was an era when a broken leg could lead to amputation, and surgeons were still known to ransack cemeteries to find cadavers. And in squalid, overcrowded hospitals, doctors remained baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high.

At a time when surgery couldn't have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a young Quaker surgeon. By making the audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection - and could be treated with antiseptics - he changed the history of medicine forever.

With a novelist's eye for detail, Fitzharris brilliantly conjures up the grisly world of Victorian surgery, revealing how one of Britain's greatest medical minds finally brought centuries of savagery, sawing and gangrene to an end.

©2017 Lindsey Fitzharris (P)2017 Penguin AudioBooks

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting book

I knew a little about early surgery - but learned a lot more! A fascinating account of how early operations were performed, and butchery is certainly the right word. Amazing that anyone survived before Joseph Lister and his contemporaries began to fully understand the implications of opening up a body.

It was perhaps a little long ..... but highly informative. More really a biography of Joseph Lister. Recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • Newcastle Emlyn
  • 01-04-18

Very interesting.

An interesting and informative view into the world of the surgeon before, during and after clean, antiseptic and aseptic treatment was introduced by Dr Lister. Also a view at the collision of two sciences that showed the world why medicine needed to co-join biology and chemistry. Showing surgery and medicine as the science based craft it was a pulling physics, chemistry and biology together to improve hospital practices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Butchering Art

Thoroughly enjoyed this! Fascinating and gruesome and marvellous. The story of Joseph Lister, surgery and germ theory, and the meeting of medicine and science. Wonderfully told and I definitely recommend.

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The Butchering Art

Enjoyed listening about a subject I know little about, never too high brow but at same time very informative

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Excellence

Can't recommend this enough.

Wonderfully inspiring story, superb narration.

Grizzly perfection in story telling seemingly places you 'there.'

Buy and enjoy.

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A great listen

loved hearing about the progression made in surgery throughout the years. Such a great listen.

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Fantastic

A fabulous insight into the life a work of one of the greatest minds in science.

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Everything I want in a book

Gore, history, science and medicine, social commentary and the timeless arrogance of academics through the the past couple. Of hundred years

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fascinating listening

loved the narrator's voice as it was calm and slow paced, this meant I could follow the storyline a lot more easily.

The story it's self was a fascinating insight into the history of medicine and how to have a been free hospital.
Lister work hard to understand his patients and make sure they didn't die from being inside the hospital. Lister was frustrated that his patients kept dieing after he performed surgery on then so looked into why this was happening.

I myself learned a lot from this book and have recommend it to family and friends.
I will be listening to it again in the near future.

I have given this book 5 stars as the narrator was perfect and the book was well written and informative.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-12-18

Excellent

This book is not for the faint of heart... it is a true glimpse to Victorian times, with all of the gory, messy details. But it's also beautifully written (and performed), and gives us a real sense of what medicine and life was like at the early days of the industrial revolution. It's not overly academic and not overly literary - it's just the right amount of both.
And truly, what a unique and compelling story to tell. Wonderful.
I should also mention Sam Woolf for his excellent narration, not a dull moment.

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  • Nora
  • 06-11-18

Fascinating!

Truly remarkable piece of medical history and the discovery of germs. At times a little gross and graphic, it only serves to highlight how far we have come. I have a new hero!