Lindsey Fitzharris - Author

About the Author

Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018

Lindsey Fitzharris received her doctorate in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of Oxford and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Wellcome Institute. She is the creator of the popular website The Chirurgeon's Apprentice, and she writes and presents the YouTube series Under the Knife. She has written for the Guardian, the Lancet, the New Scientist, Penthouse, the Huffington Post and Medium, and appeared on PBS, Channel 4 UK, BBC and National Geographic.

On The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine: 

I like to say that The Butchering Art is a love story between science and medicine. It details the first time that a scientific principle (germ theory) was applied to medical practice through the development of antisepsis. Joseph Lister was a visionary surgeon who persevered with his work despite a prevailing climate of scepticism and denial. In this way, his story is more relevant today than it has ever been. 

My intention when I set out to write The Butchering Art was to ensure that Lister’s name would become just as familiar to people as those of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Marie Curie. Lister revolutionised surgery and made safe procedures that had been perilous for centuries. I’m so pleased to see his achievements garnering the attention they deserve. I’m also humbled to find myself in such talented company as a shortlisted author for the Wolfson Prize, especially as this will further help shine a light on Lister’s legacy.

Featured books by Lindsey Fitzharris

Other books by Lindsey Fitzharris

The Butchering Art Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

The Butchering Art Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Author: Lindsey Fitzharris Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2018

DAILY MAIL, GUARDIAN AND OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017 Winner of the 2018 PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing Shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize Shortlisted for the 2018 Wolfson Prize The story of a visionary British surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world - the safest time to be alive in human history In The Butchering Art, historian Lindsey Fitzharris recreates a critical turning point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today. Victorian operating theatres were known as 'gateways of death', Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didn't survive the experience. This was an era when a broken leg could lead to amputation, when surgeons often lacked university degrees, and were still known to ransack cemeteries to find cadavers. While the discovery of anaesthesia somewhat lessened the misery for patients, ironically it led to more deaths, as surgeons took greater risks. In squalid, overcrowded hospitals, doctors remained baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn't have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon. By making the audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection - and could be treated with antiseptics - he changed the history of medicine forever. With a novelist's eye for detail, Fitzharris brilliantly conjures up the grisly world of Victorian surgery, revealing how one of Britain's greatest medical minds finally brought centuries of savagery, sawing and gangrene to an end.

Butchering Art

Butchering Art

Author: Lindsey Fitzharris Format: eBook Release Date: 17/10/2017

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, read by Sam Woolf. In The Butchering Art, historian Lindsey Fitzharris recreates a critical turning point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today. Victorian operating theatres were known as gateways of death, Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didnt survive the experience. This was an era when a broken leg could lead to amputation, and surgeons were still known to ransack cemeteries to find cadavers. And in squalid, overcrowded hospitals, doctors remained baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldnt have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a young Quaker surgeon. By making the audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection - and could be treated with antiseptics - he changed the history of medicine forever. With a novelists eye for detail, Fitzharris brilliantly conjures up the grisly world of Victorian surgery, revealing how one of Britains greatest medical minds finally brought centuries of savagery, sawing and gangrene to an end.

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