Genius on the Edge and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted Hardcover – February 2, 2010


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$39.80 $7.98
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607146274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607146278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Clearly an homage to the man to whom “virtually every academically affiliated surgeon can trace his or her teachers,” teaching surgeon Imber’s effort is more than a biography. It is a scholarly reconstruction, complete with historical perspective, of the life of a man who managed to revolutionize surgical practices and, indeed, the entire field of surgery, while battling the enduring and debilitating consequences of self-inflicted medical experimentation. To make surgery more efficient for surgeons, safer, and freer of pain for patients, Halsted began to explore various methods of anesthesia, including the then recently discovered drug, cocaine. He became addicted. Failure to kick that addiction played havoc with his professional life and ultimately forced him to turn optimistically to heroin, generally thought at the time to be an effective treatment. The result was lifelong heroin dependence, despite which he was eventually able to not only function but also continue a brilliant career. Imber’s academic style and inclusive approach are solid but may not appeal to all tastes. --Donna Chavez

Review

“Gerald Imber’s new biography is the first retelling of Halsted’s story in many decades and a particularly expert and thought-provoking narrative makes the intense strangeness of Halsted’s subsequent career a gripping story.”—Abigail Zuger, New York Times Science section

 “…Dr. Gerald Imber's unpredictable and unflappable biography, an intrigue-filled life story that's also a sweeping pop medical history, depicts an individual who was two different kinds of good - make that, great - doctor.”  —Baltimore Sun  

"With this engaging (if spectacularly subtitled) biography, Imber brings into focus the amazing strides medicine has made over 150 years."   —Publishers Weekly  

"Imber provides a few other colorful details about Halsted: He named his dachshunds "Nip" and "Tuck" and was such an indifferent college student that "there is no record of Halsted ever having borrowed a book from the Yale library." He did crack a book during his senior year: Gray's "Anatomy," which inspired him to pursue medicine."  —Washington Post  



“A gripping mixture of medical history and detailed biographical analysis...” —Huffington Post

“He provides a vivid sense of many “larger-than-life personalities,” including those of William Welch, William Osler, Howard Kelly, Harvey Cushing, and Walter Dandy. His powers of description are compelling, and his carefully chosen words seem to let the monumental events speak for themselves. The book is a must-read for residents. The residency of the 21st century is evolving from that of the 20th, but it will be a long time before Halsted's imprint is no longer palpable.”  —Anesthesiology

“Gerald Imber has captured in one grisly sweep the barbarism of both early surgery and the manure-trodden streets it grew from. Like Doctorow's RAGTIME, it's evocative in broad strokes….Not just for history buffs, Imber gives any reader a character for the ages. Riveting.” —Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Gerald Imber, M.D., is a graduate of the State University of New York Medical College and was trained in plastic surgery at the New York Hospital Cornell Medical College, where he maintains a professional affiliation as a plastic surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Dr. William Stewart Halsted was educated in New York initially.
Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
I did not know all that he gave to the medical community and would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in medical history.
Deb Lottinville
The charm, humor, and authority of the author's voice shines warmly throughout the sprawling narrative.
Angel Steller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Angel Steller on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Gerald Imber will change your views of what it means to be a doctor and a patient, to be sick and to be well. While tracing the convoluted evolution of modern surgery, Imber also chronicles the prodigious, twisted career of the greatest surgeon in American history. As he modernized medicine - introducing such life-sparing novelties as anesthesia, scrubsuits, handwashing, sterlized instruments, even while the medical establishment strenuously resisted his innovations -- Halsted himself descended into a dark, secretive abyss of cocaine abuse and closeted homosexuality. Yet Halsted's techniques and his teaching were so unimpeachably sound, they remain the model for practicing and teaching surgery today. Halsted's story is written with such clarity, it will appeal universally - along the way, Imber's tale encompasses, among other matters, 19th-century American and European history, and some commendably high and lamentably low examples of the human condition. It is a wonder Halsted never had a biography before; we should be very grateful that Dr. Gerald Imber took on this daunting task. His impressive scholarship never gets in the way of good story telling. The charm, humor, and authority of the author's voice shines warmly throughout the sprawling narrative.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ryan morrison on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By far the best biography I have read. I did not have to skip over any boring parts or risk falling asleep. It was strange to realize that not only did people not always use sterile practices but that within the last 100 years people did not use sterile practices. Dr Halsted snd his peers were the creators of modern medicine as we still know it, and their story is a fascinating one.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Debbie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Genius on the Edge" is an interesting book describing the medical developments (especially in surgery) during the period of about 1846 to 1922. The first third of the book mainly focused on what surgery was like before this period, on the developments that occurred from 1846 to 1889, and how they affected Halsted's medical training and prompted his surgical innovations. The rest of the book was more a series of short biographies of men who worked with Halsted and the developments they (and he) brought to the practice of surgery from 1889-1922. It also covered Halsted's marriage and how he lived.

The author didn't assume that the reader was familiar with medical terms and so concisely worked that information in as was needed to understand the innovations. He did an excellent job of making the topic fascinating and easy to understand. I found the book a quick read despite the amount of information packed into it. I also liked how the author wove the general technological changes and social setting into the story so we could see how society effected the advances and how Halsted and the others influenced society in turn. While the book mostly focused on American surgery (especially that done at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), the author also brought up related advances over in Europe.

There were only a couple of brief descriptions of actual surgery, so most of the book probably wouldn't bother those who get queasy by descriptions of operations.

Some of the topics covered were: the introduction of general anesthetics, heat sterilization, and antiseptics to make surgery safer. How medical training had been done and how it changed (both in medical school and post-graduate) under the influence of Halsted and his friends at Johns Hopkins.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Genius on the Edge by Dr. Gerald Imber MD
Kaplan Publishing

Title of the Review: Genius Recognized

Reviewed by: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca CPA, CISA

The author, Dr. Gerald Imber, MD does an excellent job of
documenting the life and times of Dr. William S. Halsted MD.
Dr. William Stewart Halsted was educated in New York initially.
He attended Yale and the College of Physicians and Surgeons
at 23rd St. and 4th Av. in NYC.

Scholastically, he graduated in the top 10 of his class
and won $100 in an essay contest for the description of
the arteries of the neck. He worked at
New York Hospital and read extensive surgical
scholarship written in Europe. He held positions at
Blackwell's Island and Emigrant Hospital, although the
workload was staggering .

At an early age, he began to understand the intricacies
of blood group incompatibility. He found that intestinal
anastomosis using fine silk sutures incorporating the submucosal
layer withstood the pressures of normal bodily functions.
He demonstrated this aspect graphically.

By 1889, rubber sterile gloves were introduced to protect
the skin from irritation. Halsted perfected radical surgery
with extensive fine suturing for breast cancer.
He reconstructed hernia defects in the groin by using muscle
and tough fascial sheath of the oblique muscles of the lower
abdomen to reconstruct the inguinal canal floor. Halsted sutured
the muscles and fascia to Poupart's ligament, an anatomical
inguinal ligament that traverses the iliac bone of the pubis.
Strong silk sutures were used to tighten the internal abdominal
ring as well.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?