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

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They were heretics. They were geniuses. They were visionaries. But mostly they were pioneers, the men and women who at great personal risk - and often to tragic result - pushed forward the boundaries of their contemporary medicine into the modern age. They were Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who on her 1717 travels in the Ottoman Empire realized the possibilities of smallpox inoculation, and Robert Koch, who isolated the tuberculosis bacillus. They are Joseph E. Murray, who performed the world's first successful ...

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New York 2003 Paperback First edition thus New N. 304 pages. With illustrations. Remainder mark on bottom edge. Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine brings to life stories of the ... pioneering geniuses, eccentrics, and free thinkers who moved beyond the conventions of their day at great personal risk-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 a human heart 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 transfusi Read more Show Less

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Overview

They were heretics. They were geniuses. They were visionaries. But mostly they were pioneers, the men and women who at great personal risk - and often to tragic result - pushed forward the boundaries of their contemporary medicine into the modern age. They were Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who on her 1717 travels in the Ottoman Empire realized the possibilities of smallpox inoculation, and Robert Koch, who isolated the tuberculosis bacillus. They are Joseph E. Murray, who performed the world's first successful organ transplant, and Ian Wilmut, who cloned a sheep famously named Dolly.

With colorful narrative detail Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine, the companion volume to The History Channel series of the same name, brings to dramatic life the extraordinary stories behind twenty groundbreaking achievements in the field of medical science. It is a field populated by the bold, eccentric, and inventive likes of Werner Forssmann, a doctor who had so much confidence in his theory that catheters could be inserted into human hearts for diagnostic purposes that he inserted one into his own (he then galloped to the X-ray department to have a photograph taken of the catheter lying in his right auricle); Anton Von Leeuwenhok, a Dutch draper and part-time janitor who ground his own lenses for the microscope and in the 1670s discovered the existence of protozoa, bacteria, sperm, and blood cells; Wilhelm Roentgen, who in his basement developed the X-ray machine with a single cathode ray and some cardboard; and Jean-Baptiste Denis who performed the first recorded blood transfusion, with lamb's blood, and found himself later charged with murder, if on manufactured evidence (the patient had been poisoned not by bad blood but by his discontented wife).

From Typhoid Mary to Dolly, from Andreas Vesalius's sixteenth century studies in anatomy to John Gibbon Jr.'s development of the heart-lung machine over two decades in the twentieth, here are the healers and dreamers who marched resolutely ahead of their time-and altered the face of medicine

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786714155
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2004
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Fenster
Julie Fenster
Julie M. Fenster is the co-author (with Douglas Brinkley) of The New York Times bestseller Parish Priest. Her books include the award-winning Ether Day and Race of the Century. A regular contributor to American Heritage, Fenster has also written for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Syracuse, New York.
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Table of Contents

The art of medicine : Andreas Vesalius 3
A peculiar light : Wilhelm Roentgen 19
Picture of youth : Werner Forssmann 35
Never say die : Ian Wilmut and Dolly 49
Perfect focus : Antony van Leeuwenhoek 61
Too much trouble : Ignaz Semmelweis 75
Public enemy : Robert Koch 91
Trailing death : George A. Soper and Mary Mallon 105
Worldly wise : Mary Wortley Montagu 123
Tag Ook : Paul Ehrlich 135
Et al : Selman Waksman and Albert Schatz 149
Battery operated : Arne and Else-Marie Larsson 163
Organized brain : Thomas Willis 175
Lost in throught : Franz Joseph Gall 187
Ether frolic : Horace Wells, William T. G. Morton, and Charles Jackson 199
Human feeling : David Ferrier and Frances Power Cobbe 217
Transfusion of murder : Jean-Baptiste Denis 231
Master of the system : William Harvey 243
Long way to bypass : John H. Gibbon Jr. 257
A bit of life : Joseph E. Murray and John P. Merrill 269
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