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The Anatomist by Bill B. Hayes

The Anatomist

The Anatomist by Bill B. Hayes
Ebook
Dec 26, 2007 | 272 Pages
  • Ebook $12.99

    Dec 26, 2007 | 272 Pages

Product Details

Praise

“Hayes’s history of the illustrated medical text ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ coincides with the hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of its first publication. Fascinated by the fact that little was known about the famous book’s genesis, Hayes combed through nineteenth-century letters and medical-school records, learning that, besides Henry Gray, the brilliant scholar and surgeon who wrote the text, another anatomist was crucial to the book’s popularity: Henry Vandyke Carter, who provided its painstaking drawings. Hayes moves nimbly between the dour streets of Victorian London, where Gray and Carter trained at St. George’s Hospital, and the sunnier classrooms of a West Coast university filled with athletic physical therapists in training, where he enrolls in anatomy classes and discovers that “when done well, dissection is very pleasing aesthetically.” – The New Yorker

“All laud and honor to Hayes….In perusing the body’s 650 muscles and 206 bones, he has made the case that we are, as the psalmist wrote, “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that dissection has an aesthetic all its own. The act of carving open a body becomes, in this context, a perverse act of love, a desecration that consecrates “the extraordinary, the inner architecture of the human form.” – The Washington Post

“How do you write a book about someone about whom next to nothing is known? For most writers, the answer would be move on to the next subject. But Bill Hayes has an unusual set of skills. The author of previous books on insomnia and blood, he is part science writer, part memoirist, part culture explainer. “The Anatomist,” his appealing new book about the man behind Gray’s Anatomy, combines his search for the remaining traces of Henry Gray with a memoir of his own experience as a dissection student and a scalpel’s-eye tour of the body.” – The New York Times

“Some of [Hayes’s] most memorable writing describes the dissection classes he attended in San Francisco. We are treated to a selection of fascinating anatomical snippets about, for example, how to trace evidence of the sealed hole in the fetal heart through which the mother’s blood enters; or how to find the kidney in a cadaver; or that blood flowing out of the heart is first used to feed the heart itself; or, best of all, a structural analysis of how the Queen manages to deliver such a uniquely restrained wave.” – Nature: The International Weekly Journal of Science

“In his cunningly structured, beautifully written anatomy of Gray’s Anatomy, Bill Hayes dissects the body’s secrets, the lives of two great nineteenth-century explorers of those secrets–and some of his own obsession as well. A lovely book.”
–Andrea Barett, author of Ship Fever

“Bill Hayes has written a thrilling book that is simultaneously an autobiography, a biography of Henry Gray, a scientific essay on our human anatomy, and a heart-breaking elegy. I do not know another book like it.”
–Richard Rodriguez, author of Hunger of Memory

“The Anatomist is many things: a study of the body after life has left it, a chronicle of scientists obsessed with the subject, and, in a heartbreakingly personal way, a memoir. It is also a reflection about how little was known about disease not that long ago. Finally, it is a biography of an anxious, neurotic, enormously sympathetic young anatomist from another time who changed medicine. This is a wonderful book.”
–Robert M. Sapolsky, author of A Primate’s Memoir

“Hayes pays eloquent tribute to two masterpieces: the human body and the book detailing it. . . . [He balances] biographical chapters with his own experience in the anatomy classroom, dissecting cadavers and marveling at each new discovery with prose both lucid and arrestingly beautiful.”
Publishers Weekly

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