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Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  411 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Today, astonishing surgical breakthroughs are making face transplants, limb transplants and a host of other previously undreamed of operations possible. But getting here has not been a simple story of selfless men working tirelessly in the pursuit of medical advancement. Instead it's a bloodstained tale of blunders, arrogance, mishap and murder. In trying to keep us alive, ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 7th 2008 by BBC Books
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Dena
Apr 15, 2016 Dena rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this once I got used to the scenes of horror that were being described. Hollingham covers the history of surgery and major developments in surgical procedures of the heart, brain, as well as discussing how the mysteries of bacterial infection stunted surgical development for so long, until it was properly understood. The engaging tone makes this less of a slog than you might think.

Another great, but dense, book on medical history is Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The H
...more
Fredsky
Nov 04, 2011 Fredsky rated it it was amazing
On the brink of some surgery that would take a few weeks of recovery time, I got all the books about doctors and surgeons that I could remove from the library. This one was the first I read, and the best of all. The harrowing tales of early medicine are strange and creepy. But early surgeons were the WILD MEN! Before anesthesia the operating rooms were part circus and part abattoir. I read about famous amputations where whole legs from thigh down were cut off in less than a minute. These guys ha ...more
James McFadyen
Jul 27, 2015 James McFadyen rated it it was amazing
I found this book truly fascinating. After a recent work experience at the orthopaedic section of the west midlands university hospital I was captivated by the dramatic and exciting medical environment and immediately wanted to learn more. This book is very readable and explains all the complex surgical procedures in a simple manner. I'd recommend this to anyone who is only even marginally interested in the evolution of all aspects of surgery. Definite 5 stars
poopdoggy ballsdotcom
the best source of trivia for people that LOVE BOTCHED SURGERY

portrays surgeons honestly: as charismatic self centered borderline sociopaths, but ALSO IS VERY AWARE OF HOW THEIR INSANE PRACTICES MADE IT SO WE CAN GET CUT OPEN AND LIVE TODAY

apparently theres a bbc show that goes alongside this book, but living in the states im having a horrible time finding it

i almost dont want to recommend this book because i want to withhold all the amazing facts for myself
Helen
Jan 24, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it
Fascinating and very readable book which accompanied the excellent series on BBC4 presented by the lovely Michael Mosley. Covers everything from early brain surgery, the evolution of cardiac surgery and plastic surgery right through to modern transplant surgery.
Not for the squeamish, definitely for the curious - but you will wince!
Eleanore M.
Sep 19, 2014 Eleanore M. rated it liked it
A resounding shrug -- not a bad book, plenty informative, but definitely meant to entertain rather than educate. Not exactly what I was looking for. Just watch the BBC program (which it's apparently based off of) and you'll get all the same information, only quicker.
Choquefrontal
Sep 02, 2014 Choquefrontal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wunderkammer
This book is an incredibly easy book to read. For someone who is unfamiliar with medical terms and slang this one history of surgery book has been a delight to read through - the author is so kind as to even explain that the tibia is that big bone in the lower part of our legs!

Its narrative flows in the exact way a TV show and its episodes flow - which happens to be the case, being this book the written adaptation of a BBC miniseries which is sadly not available online. The chapters are well th
...more
Beckie L.
Sep 12, 2014 Beckie L. rated it it was amazing
See how surgeons experiment...during the surgery. The book will make you wonder how today's surgical procedures will be viewed 100 years from now.
Mindi
Jan 25, 2015 Mindi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a good book if you are looking for a general overview of the history of surgery. It's not a long book, by any means, but it does cover the main types of surgery, and the records of their first attempts. It is very readable, although expect plenty of gruesome details. If you have a strong stomach and a thirst for a layperson's knowledge of surgery, this is a good place to start.

The book briefly touches on certain surgeries performed as far back as 10,000 BC, however, the largest amo
...more
Sebah
لا أطيق رؤية أو سماع ما يتعلق بالدم أو بقص/خياطة/بتر/... جسم الإنسان، أصاب بالغثيان. الكتاب، على عكس ما توقعت، لم يكتفِ بذكر التقديم النظري أو التاريخي البحت لتطور الجراحة. لكن الكاتب أبدع، فعلا، في وصف العمليات و الأمور الطبية بشكل (مزعج) جعل من أمر تخيل المشهد المثير للغثيان في متناول أي قارئ. لذا لم أتمكن من قراءة كل فصول/صفحات الكتاب.

أسلوب كتابة الكاتب ممتعة و تجذب القارئ. استمتعت في قراءة التقديم، و في تقليب الصفحات بحثا عن معلومات مفيدة أخرج بها من الكتاب دون أن أصاب بالغثيان.

في التقديم ل
...more
Andres
May 07, 2010 Andres rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical
A quick and fascinating tour through the history of surgery. The author gives us a chronological account of surgery in five chapters, first exploring the beginnings of surgery and the complications to overcome (among them perfecting knowledge of anatomy, anesthesia, and hygiene), then moving on to heart surgery, transplant surgery, plastic surgery, then finally brain surgery. Each is presented with its major historical developments and the people involved.

This book was apparently written as an u
...more
Jennifer
Aug 11, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I really only borrowed this eBook in the hopes that it would persuade my teenage son to read something, anything... he's studying history of medicine as part of his GCSE history course and it is a title which would appeal to him.

I am probably hoping in vain, but no matter as I enjoyed it tremendously myself. I had not been aware of the TV series on which it is based but that didn't seem to matter. It is selective and episodic covering anaesthesia, asepsis, cardiac, transplant, plastic and neuros
...more
Jill
Sep 12, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a succinct history of the major developments in medicine leading to modern surgery today. It is easy to read, with barely any "doctor-speak". It was based on a BBC documentary, which probably contributed to it being reader-friendly. More like reading a really, really long magazine article than a non-fiction book. Part of what made it so easy to get through was how the author uses anecdotes or profiles about people and how that led to the important development that he really wants you to ...more
Scotchneat
Dec 24, 2010 Scotchneat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Good read. Hollingham chose to organize his vignettes by theme/type of surgery and fully acknowledges that he's not covering the whole field.

What is does cover is written with a wry nod to the batsh*t craziness/megalomania of the innovators in surgical procedures and care improvements.

Back to Galen and then forward again, through times when surgeons were convinced that the more it hurt, the healthier it was, to the great operating theatres in the UK where the sawdust under the table was there to
...more
Raunaq Sahu
Jan 28, 2016 Raunaq Sahu rated it really liked it
The book is fantastic as a sort of primer to learning more about surgery and its evolution. Though I had a basic idea of the major developments, the background and the context that influenced a particular surgical 'advancement' helped my understanding a lot. Hollingham has also included great recommendations for further reading.
Thomas Edmund
Oct 28, 2013 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
One can safely assume that picking up this book will require a strong stomach (pictures included - lookout for the dog with two heads, and the gentleman who required nose reconstruction.) If you can look past the required gore, then you will find a detailed, dramatic and tastefully humorous exploration of modern surgery.

The authors are quick to point out that this is merely "a" history of surgery and only four major themes are covered. Nonetheless one feels that history has been well covered, an
...more
Melissa
Nov 18, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
This wasn't a bad read at all it just wasn't what I hoped for. For the most part it described many "firsts" leading up to "first successful" attempts at various surgical specialties in rather than a collection of macabre experimental Victorian surgeries.
Connie Mayo
Apr 06, 2016 Connie Mayo rated it it was amazing
For me, nonfiction should have both a fascinating subject matter and a narrative style that keeps you reading. Since I was interested in the subject, it came down to the writing style, which I thought was pitch-perfect. Light, funny, informative.
Julia
Mar 26, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chapter, favs, favorites
Amazing read. If you have any interest in medicine and/or history, pick up this book. The author's style is easy to read and witty, so you'll likely have a hard time putting it down! :)
Rhonda
Oct 13, 2015 Rhonda rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this very educational book. Full of interesting tidbits--development of anesthesia, sutures, radiology. Pretty fascinating stuff!
Nisa
Feb 01, 2014 Nisa rated it really liked it
A very informative and fascinating read, more aimed at the layperson. Surgery really has progressed in leaps and bounds in the last few centuries. Exciting.
Rachel (Sfogs)
Jul 21, 2015 Rachel (Sfogs) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, library
Really good. Really bloody and sometimes scary, and really, really interesting!
Samantha
Nov 28, 2015 Samantha rated it liked it
Informative, but meant to entertain rather than educate. Which was a tad disappointing, as not what I was anticipating. Oh well, :) further reading section at the end of the book signposts other books that may provide more in depth information.
Gabriel Azevedo
This book was a TON of fun. It can get extremely gory so I definitely don't recommend reading it while eating (like I did). Hollingham does a good job of expressing the sheer wonder of each medical breakthrough, and the outrage of ones created by medical professionals more interested in using human beings as lab rats than helping them. Blood and Guts really draws you into the history with vivid descriptions and historical context. For me, it was definitely a page-turner, hilarious and emotional, ...more
Heather O'Field
Apr 04, 2014 Heather O'Field rated it really liked it
An interesting look at how far surgery has come, as well as some disturbing periods of medical history. The book is written at an easy to read level. Even as a medical student, I cringed during some parts, so this is not for the squeamish! I love history and medicine so this was a great read!
Nicole M.
Apr 16, 2016 Nicole M. rated it really liked it
A wonderfully entertaining and humorous collection of different important groundbreaking episodes throughout the history of surgery. Very interesting and fun to read. I learned a lot!
Kelly
Feb 13, 2016 Kelly rated it really liked it
Interesting and entertaining. For fans of "The Knick."
Tom
Apr 04, 2013 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The content of this book I found fascinating. The delivery of said content, however, was less than stellar. Hollingham's storytelling abilities are lackluster, and the arrangement of the information he gives is topical instead of chronological, which for me only served to obfuscate the larger picture of a slow trudge towards progress in the surgical world. That being said, he does an admirable job of highlighting the major events and breakthroughs of the field.
Bruno Martinez-Leo
It is a very good book, soundly researched for general audiences. Medical students and surgeons alike will find several histories previously told as well as some new explanations and obscure sides of famous surgeons. I recommend it wether you're a surgeon, other type of physician or general public audience: not really a page-turner but quite interesting and well-structured.
Missmoralesj Morales
Picture yourself as a patient that just had a compound facture(where the bone comes out of the skin, then picture yourself catching a infection and your leg turning gangrene. The only cure is that your leg has to be amputated. While you are awake. Without anesthetic. Watching the doctor saw off your leg in a theater full of people watching your agony.
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