Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine: The Pioneers Who Risked Their Lives to Bring Medicine into the Modern Age by Julie M. Fenster, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine: The Pioneers Who Risked Their Lives to Bring Medicine into the Modern Age

Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine: The Pioneers Who Risked Their Lives to Bring Medicine into the Modern Age

by Julie M. Fenster
     
 

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Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine brings to life stories of the pioneering geniuses, eccentrics, and freethinkers who moved beyond the conventions of their day at great personal risk—and often with tragic results—to push forward the boundaries of modern medicine. From Werner Forssmann, who was so confident in his theory that doctors could insert a

Overview

Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine brings to life stories of the pioneering geniuses, eccentrics, and freethinkers who moved beyond the conventions of their day at great personal risk—and often with tragic results—to push forward the boundaries of modern medicine. From Werner Forssmann, who was so confident in his theory that doctors could insert a catheter into humans' hearts for diagnostic purposes that he inserted one into his own heart, while watching on a live X ray (and was basically thrown out of the profession, only to be awarded the Nobel Prize just before his death many years later), to Anton Von Leewenhoek, a draper and part-time janitor who discovered the existence of protozoa, bacteria, sperm, and blood cells; from Wilhelm Roentgen, who developed the X-ray machine in his basement with a single cathode ray and some cardboard, to Jean-Baptiste Denis who gave the first-known blood transfusion (with sheep's blood) and was later charged with murder (on manufactured evidence), Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine is populated with the heretics and visionaries who forever changed medical science. This fully illustrated publication is the companion volume to The History Channel mini-series of the same name.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Companion to a History Channel miniseries, a slightly idiosyncratic collection of 20 short pieces focusing on men and women who made noteworthy contributions to medical knowledge. Fenster (Ether Day, 2001, etc.) provides the necessary context for understanding the significance of her subjects’ accomplishments in a readable, undemanding fashion. With descriptions of their physical appearance, personality quirks, and domestic tribulations, she makes every effort to bring these people to life and to set them in their time and place. She has grouped her pieces into five categories: understanding the body, germ theory, magic bullets, the mind, and surgery. The first section opens with an informative piece on 16th-century anatomist Andreas Vesalius and includes William Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays; Werner Forssmann, developer of the cardiac catheter; and Ian Wilmer, credited with cloning Dolly. William Harvey, discoverer of the circulation of the blood, would seem to belong here, but he turns up later in the section on surgery, following a piece on early experiments in blood transfusion. The section on germ theory, which features Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Ignaz Semmelweis, and Robert Koch (but not Louis Pasteur), also and rather startlingly profiles Mary Mallon, better known as "Typhoid Mary." Fenster doesn’t provide an introduction explaining either her choices or their arrangement, indicating perhaps that the miniseries dictated them. Possibly the producers felt more women were needed; this would account for the selection of Lady Mary Montague, who figured prominently in the promotion of smallpox inoculation, rather than Edward Jenner, the doctor who discovered the vaccine. The hyperbole ofthe subtitle may also be no fault of the author’s. Suitable for filling in unavoidable gaps in a TV presentation, but fails as a stand-alone. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo/Joelle Delbourgo Associates

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786712366
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/25/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.08(d)

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