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Under the Knife

A History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations
Narrated by: Rich Keeble
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Medicine
4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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Summary

The history of surgery in 28 famous operations - from Louis XIV to JFK, and from Einstein to Houdini.

In Under the Knife, surgeon Arnold Van de Laar uses his own experience and expertise to tell the witty history of the past, present and future of surgery. From the story of the desperate man from 17th-century Amsterdam who grimly cut a stone out of his own bladder to Bob Marley's deadly toe infection, Under the Knife offers all kinds of fascinating and unforgettable insights into medicine and history via the operating theatre.

What happens during an operation? How does the human body respond to being attacked by a knife, a bacterium, a cancer cell or a bullet? And, as medical advances continuously push the boundaries of what medicine can cure, what are the limits of surgery?

From the dark centuries of bloodletting and of amputations without anaesthetic to today's sterile, high-tech operating theatres, Under the Knife is both a rich cultural history and a modern anatomy class for us all.

©2018 Arnold van de Laar (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent reading, fascinating subject

Entertaining and informative, and a fascinating tale of humankind's discovery of ways to cut into the body to cure all kinds of ailments. My attention never wandered. Highly recommended - but you must not be afraid of gore, body parts and bodily functions!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing stories

I was enthralled and amazed by the stories. this could have been a bore but was delivered in such a way to keep the listener wanting to know more. Great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Whitstable, United Kingdom
  • 23-01-18

An eyeopener to surgical progress

A riveting meander through surgical history with the most lucid and entertaining tales of the horrors and immense progress that has been made. It makes you so glad to be living nowadays. Excellent narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Surprisingly entertaining

This is a very entertaining book, that carries listeners through some episodes of the history of surgery and medicine, based on real cases affecting some known people and some unknown people, or even animals. It is well researched, the narration is effective and it provides a few hours of interesting listening. Recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating - nothing left out

Many books about surgery gloss over the gory details, which I find disappointing since that is quite often what I'm reading them for! There is a good balance of education and storytelling in this book, which made for a really entertaining listen.
There are many unbelievable tales in the history of surgery. The ones collected here by Arnold van de Laar illustrate the progression of surgery as a discipline in medicine - or in some cases, regression of surgery - as well as showcasing some truly bizarre moments in history. You will meet presidents, popes, royalty and excessively brave Dutch men in these stories, as well as the pioneering (or otherwise) surgeons who operated on them.
The level of detail about tools and techniques and the nitty-gritty of anatomy was fantastic. But I felt this book maybe lacked the heart (no pun intended!) of similar books like 'Adventures in Human Being' or 'All That Remains'. It is still extremely enjoyable, and at times had me gasping out loud in horror as well as 'mmm'ing in amazement.

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A perfect book on surgical history and principles

Enthralling from start to finish. The first audiobook I could listen to from go to wo without banality. By the end of this book you will understand surgical history and terminology and principles in an enjoyably way with famous historical examples which adds joy including Houdini and Jfk and Louis 14th and Abraham and pope John Paul and a plethora of others. This book deserves 20 stars since the content keeps you interested. The most difficult part of an audiobook is remaining interested in the subject and this book of history plus famous individuals melded with surgery is second to none. This will not disappoint

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • iGrisch
  • 27-03-19

Großartige Darstellung der gesamten Chirurgie

Dieses Buch ist besonders gut und einfach in seiner Form zu verstehen. Eine gut gelungene Auswahl an Beispielen, die die Chirurgie in ihrem Umfang klar und einfach, für jeden zu verstehen, darlegt.