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
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

See more details below

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

Read More

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:
9780786714155
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/09/2004
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.84(d)

Related Subjects

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >