It was no fun being a surgical patient in the 1800s. For that matter, being a surgeon was no picnic either. Anesthesia came on the scene only later in the century, worse, there was hardly any light by which to operate. Yet one surgeon, Thomas Dent Mutter, changed the field of surgery in remarkable ways. Best known for his contributions to the field of plastic surgery, Mutter would treat people whom everyone else considered as mere “monsters.” Aptowicz’s impressive, well-researched biography reveals that what a surgeon needs most in his toolkit is one that Mutter had in ample doses: empathy.