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Digging Up the Dead: Uncovering the Life and Times of an Extraordinary Surgeon
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Digging Up the Dead: Uncovering the Life and Times of an Extraordinary Surgeon

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  8 reviews
This story of a pioneering surgeon and his world is a terrific historical narrative and evocation of a time when surgeons and body snatchers colluded and conspired as this was the only way surgeons could get anatomical experience.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Chatto & Windus (first published 2007)
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It is always inspiring to read about people who are driven by the love of their work. Cooper was driven by his insatiable curiosity and this book chronicles how his work shaped his life. Burch weaves some of his own experiences in medical school throughout the book and it only adds to the richness of the work. I would highly recommend this book!
While biography is a frequently difficult subject, Dr. Burch seems to set the bar higher by choosing the up-hill task of writing a biography about a man whose personal records have been destroyed. From public records, Dr. Burch has reconstructed the timeline of his subject's life and then made his best guess as to why the events fit in this order.

To fill in the chasms, Dr. Burch pads the material with various stories about the events of the era. The result is a book that could as aptly be title
Emily Sours
awesome book! well written and extremely interesting.
A precise, economical, life-affirming bio of the surgeon and dissector par excellence Astley Cooper, and a vivid tour of the influence of the scientific method on the field of medicine in enlightenment Britain. The examples of 18th century surgery are fascinating for a comparison with today's macro-knowledge and the cultural impact of the invention of anaesthetics, and the idea that a particular psychology - more than exposure, a peculiar pioneering faith - would be necessary for the surgeons of ...more
A stunning book that captures the bloody, gruesome and fascinating world of the beginnings of surgeons and the discovers made in the field of operations and medicine.
Astley Cooper is a vivid character of a man, and Druin Burch brings him to life again with skill and insights interest to the man who was once one of the world's greatest surgeons. An inspirational man of his time, and still manages to have an effect today.
Sometimes unnerving in it's descriptions of 18th century methods but yet min
E. Davies
I love biography and science, but avoid horror at all costs. Despite this book occasionally drifting into the latter - descriptions of operations without anaesthetic, bodysnatching, and the uses to which corpses were once put - the grip of the story carried me along. A vivid life, vividly told, it tells of Astley Cooper, an eighteenth century surgeon & political and scientific revolutionary, and the world he lived in. An exciting and brutal age, and he was a man who made the most of it.
Adam Johnson
good, flits about abit, and not actually that much about the ressurectionists, but a good read, esp if one is interested in the history of surgery.
One of the nominees for my boyfriend's mother's book club in 2008-09.
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