Digging Up The Dead, biography of Sir Astley Cooper, pioneering Surgeon of the late 1700 - 1840 in the UK is highly readable, educational, & told in the context of not only his medical & political contemporaries but also in the context of his GP author. This book has also been reviewed by New Scientist which speaks for itself. The appalling conditions, by today's standards, under which surgery was performed is graphic plus the enormous contribution Cooper made to surgery internationally. He is still being cited in refereed medical journals! Although obtaining enough corpses for dissection was difficult & dangerous at this time, a more suitable title should have been possible. However, this is a trite churlish for a book highly recommended for all interested in medical history, & the life & times of a great man.
Druin Burch's exposition on the life and times of the world famous surgeon Astley Cooper is not only a brilliantly researched and written medical biography but also an exceptional biography full stop, as well as a great read.
He outlines the life of an extraordinary person, and manages to draw the reader in to not only the details of his life, but also the feelings he must have felt as he pioneered the types of basic surgery we take for granted. Exposing a fair bit of himself in the process, Burch has written a book that is easily readable by laypeople and gives an insight into traditional surgery - raw, unadulterated and with no anaesthetic !
For those interested in life in 17th and 18th century England, the book does not disappoint and Burch does a great job in recreating the sights and smells of the era.
All in all, well worth a read and an exciting book for a first time author.