Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation At the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

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.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

De Potter's Grand Tour by Joanna Scott

The world of steamships and travel comes alive in Joanna Scott’s evocative new novel. Pierre Louis Armand de Potter d’Elseghem may or may not be descended from royalty, but that’s beside the point. The bottom line is that many believed his life story to the point where he could establish a successful business guiding clients on De Potter’s World Tours. But Armand’s deceptions catch up with him and when he disappears, it’s up to his wife, Aimee, to piece the puzzle together. A superb tale not just of one charlatan’s exploits but of a collective gullibility that made them bankable.