Stephen McGann is Dr. Turner in the BBC hit drama series Call the Midwife. His family survived famine-ravaged Ireland in the 1850s. His ancestors settled in poverty-rife Victorian Liverpool, working to survive and thrive. Some of them became soldiers serving on the Western Front. One would be the last man to step off the SS Titanic as it sank beneath the icy waves. He would testify at the inquest. This is their story.
Flesh and Blood is the story of the McGann family as told through seven maladies - diseases, wounds or ailments that have afflicted Stephen's relatives over the last century and a half and which have helped mould him into what he now perceives himself to be. It's the story of how health, or the lack of it, fuels our collective will and informs our personal narrative. Health is the motivational antagonist in the drama of our life story - circumscribing the extent of our actions, the quality of our character and the breadth of our ambition. Our maladies are the scribes that write the restless and mutating genome of our self-identity.
Flesh and Blood combines McGann's passion for genealogy with an academic interest in the social dimensions of medicine - and fuses these with a lifelong exploration of drama as a way to understand what motivates human beings to do the things they do. He looks back at scenes from his own life that were moulded by medical malady and traces the crooked roots of each affliction through the lives of his ancestors, whose grim maladies punctuate the public documents or military records of his family tree. In this way he asks a simple, searching question: how have these maladies helped to shape the story of the person he is today? Hear Stephen's incredible story told in his own words in this magnificent unabridged audiobook.
Love the narration. I have a lot in common with the Irish and Merseyside history.
In most autobiographies there is subtext to provide a little extra insight into the author’s being. In Flesh and Blood, Stephen McGann has elevated the value of the subtext to that of the main story. Clarification of historical events, along with social and medical conditions, serve to ensure that the reader has a full understanding who Stephen McGann is, rather than just what work he has done and how many famous people he knows.
This is thoughtfully written and excellently narrated. Flesh and Blood is a most refreshing read and much more than an autobiography.
This is such a beautiful way to tell a family history. From the very beginning I was captivated by the descriptions of maladies intertwined with the stories of family life over a century and a half. There were intensely moving moments where tears streamed down my face, along with informative aspects of medical developments. Being just one year older than Stephen with a family history connected to Liverpool’s lower classes for nigh on 3 centuries I’m finding myself inspired to find out more than the data on a page. Thank you Stephen.