I bought a signed copy of this book on a whim while I was visiting The Last Bookstore (aka bookworm heaven), mostly because I have a special spot in my heart for the painting on the cover. I ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting while flying home the next day, stopping only to turn to my husband and say “OH MY GOD listen to this!!”
Lindsey Fitzharris accomplished the difficult (but rewarding) feat of writing a truly excellent example of narrative nonfiction and medical history. The Butchering Art tells the true story of Joseph Lister’s life-long battle to bring antiseptic approaches to surgery into the operating room. She clearly did her research into medical practices of the time, and deftly weaves scientific explanations between biographical sketches of key players. The book is gruesome enough to make you thankful for modern antiseptics, but not exploitative of people’s suffering. It’s an all-around engaging read!