Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame [Hardcover]

Ruth Richardson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student

$7 Showcase Weekly Deals in Biographies & Memoirs
Browse the showcase weekly book deal featuring select paperback and hardcover titles for $7. Learn more

Book Description

December 15, 2008 0199552991 978-0199552993 1
When Gray's Anatomy appeared in 1858, contemporaries immediately recognized that it was a departure from anything that had come before. Sales were brisk, and the book rapidly became not just a bestseller, but the standard work. Created by two young men in only two years in the mid-nineteenth century, Gray's Anatomy is the only textbook of human anatomy continuously in print for the last 150 years.
Commemorating this remarkable anniversary, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy tells the fascinating story of the origin of this groundbreaking book. Providing a wealth of historical context, Dr. Ruth Richardson examines both the mid-Victorian medical world in which Henry Gray and the brilliant illustrator Henry Vandyke Carter operated and the vigorous publishing industry in London at that time. Along the way, Richardson explores the scientific and cultural life of the medical school dissecting room and dead house, as well as the lives of those whose corpses ended up on the slab. The very different personalities and life-stories of Gray and Carter emerge in the telling, as do those of their publishers, and the many other individuals who were involved in the making of the book itself. Indeed, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy investigates the entire production process--from the book's conception in 1855 to its reception by the medical press in 1858--via typesetters, wood-engravers, steam printers, paper and printing-ink suppliers, paper-folders, stitchers and bookbinders. Here we encounter individuals motivated by money, vanity, altruism, scientific discovery, professional pride, and the quest for faith and fame.
Vividly written and painstakingly researched, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy illuminates a vibrant human document, one that has guided medical students for a century and a half.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this, the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Gray's Anatomy, Richardson, a scholar of the history of science, relates how this classic came into being. Richardson does a creditable job of explaining how two young doctors, Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter, teamed together to create an anatomy manual better than any available for students in surgery. Their version had better and larger drawings (in fact, their size, which contributed to the book's success, was an accident: the illustrations were meant to be 25% smaller), simpler text and a very successful integration of surgical techniques with anatomical features. Richardson also impressively reviews the technicalities of scientific publication in the mid-19th century. Far less successful is the analysis of the two men behind Gray's Anatomy. With little pertinent material extant, Richardson is left to surmise with a plethora of perhaps and probably. Conversations between the two authors, between Gray and his publisher, and between the publisher and the printer are simply manufactured. Nonetheless, Richardson uses Gray's Anatomy as a springboard to present an interesting slice of scientific history. Illus. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In August 1858 the publisher Parker and Son issued the most famous teaching text of the modern era, Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical, by Henry Gray, lecturer on the subject at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London, with drawings by fellow anatomy teacher H. V. Carter, by then in Bombay assuming a professorship of anatomy. The product of three years’ work, it almost miscarried at the last instant. Richardson recounts the book’s story in chapters on author, illustrator, publisher, conception (either by Gray or Parker fils, no one now knows), preparation (i.e., through new dissections), creation (involving printers, engravers, binders, etc.), publication, and immediate reception. Time and again, she admits that precisely what happened and who was responsible are unknown and may remain so. But then she presents the evidence and reasoning to forge ahead, anyway, without worrying—indeed, welcoming—that future discoveries may prove her wrong. She plunges us into Victorian book manufacturing, including financing; corpse procurement under the first British regulation of it; the superiority of Gray’s to previous anatomy tutors; the calculating egoism of Gray and the decency and human vulnerability of Carter. This just isn’t the dry, academic tome you might expect. Though a month late for the sesquicentennial it celebrates, it’s a book about a book that is a perfect triumph of the form. --Ray Olson

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199552991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199552993
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Origin of a Classic Text February 23, 2009
There are millions of fans of the television series "Grey's Anatomy" which has been in production at ABC for five years. But _Gray's Anatomy_ has been in production for 150 years. If there are those who didn't know that the television series took its title as a pun from the older work, it's a sure bet that they aren't doctors. Even the medical students whose gross anatomy course didn't use _Gray's Anatomy_ knew it by reputation, and their own anatomy textbooks were heavily influenced by Gray's. In _The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame_ (Oxford University Press), historian Ruth Richardson has given the story of how the book came to be. Richardson wrote the Historical Introduction to the 150th anniversary edition of the great book, and here brings a focus onto the author, illustrator, publisher, and printer who brought forth the original. It is a surprisingly moving story, with flawed heroes on a visionary quest, and Richardson brings forth rich detail in a gracefully written biography of one of the most influential of scientific works.

At the heart of the story is Gray himself, Henry Grey, an ambitious young physiologist and surgeon. Unfortunately, Gray is largely an unknown. He did not write a diary, and when he died young at age 34, there, were obituaries, but no one wrote a personal memoir about him. His work history, says Richardson, indicates he was "a clever, competent, and very hard-working surgeon, ambitious for professional success." He was able to acquire influential patrons, and he was able to get others to work for him. One of those others was Henry Vandyke Carter, an artist, microscopist, and apothecary-surgeon who, during the time of his collaboration with Gray, went on to qualify as a medical doctor.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating snapshot of Victorian London publishing December 25, 2012
This is a fascinating book if you have any interest in how the world worked 150 years ago. The author goes into extraordinary depth in describing how hospitals, book publishers, engravers, medical students and authors worked and lived in 1850's London. I'm not sure if she really wanted to go into these various side streets or not, but since Gray left very few papers the author is left trying to stitch together who knew what, who worked together, which senior medical person groomed whom for promotion, etc.

The book in question, "Gray's Anatomy" was the result of an inspired collaboration between the highly ambitious Henry Gray and a brilliant young medical illustrator, Henry Carter. Carter left terse and sometimes cryptic diary entries, which form the skeleton upon which the author hangs the book. Gray left nothing but a list of publications, professional accomplishments, dissecting room logbook notes and all the text in the Anatomy book.

The author, Ruth Richardson, seems to have scoured the remaining information sources from that period to recreate discussions between authors and publishers, publishers and engravers, Gray and Carter. Once in a while you cringe at the leaps she makes in imagination to tell these events, but her research has been pretty darn exhaustive, so I suppose she has earned the right to do so.

There is also a tremendous amount of information about where the bodies used for dissection came from. In the 1850's the years of grave-robbing were still in recent memory. The Anatomy Law provided for the bodies of unclaimed dead in workhouses or the hospital to be sent to the medical school for dissection. But the demand for bodies often exceeded supply and some bodies were shipped off prematurely to prevent their being claimed, then records falsified.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category