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The Butchering Art Audiobook

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

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Publisher's Summary

The gripping story of how Joseph Lister's antiseptic method changed medicine forever

In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of 19th-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation. She conjures up early operating theaters - no place for the squeamish - and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These medical pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than their patients' afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn't have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the deadly riddle and change the course of history.

Fitzharris dramatically recounts Lister's discoveries in gripping detail, culminating in his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection - and could be countered by antiseptics. Focusing on the tumultuous period from 1850 to 1875, she introduces us to Lister and his contemporaries - some of them brilliant, some outright criminal - and takes us through the grimy medical schools and dreary hospitals where they learned their art, the deadhouses where they studied anatomy, and the graveyards they occasionally ransacked for cadavers.

Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.

©2017 Lindsey Fitzharris (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Warning: She spares no detail!" (Erik Larson, best-selling author of Dead Wake)

"Fascinating and shocking." (Kirkus Reviews)

A top-10 science book of fall 2017 (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (92 )
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4.7 (84 )
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4.7 (84 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jacquie74 11-18-17
    Jacquie74 11-18-17
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    "Worth a credit"

    I could hardly stop listening. I rarely read nonfiction, but this book was facinating. The subject was presented in an easy to understand way. The narration was paced so to give more interest to the presentation.But there is one drawback, that is the material could be gruesome, but it was necessary to the account.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Lmaris 11-14-17
    Lmaris 11-14-17
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    "Well written story of a great man"

    Lister was instrumental, along with Koch & Pasteur, in leading surgery out of its superstitious dark age into the Era of modern science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 11-14-17
    Lori 11-14-17
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    "Interesting Information"

    I found this listen very informative. The narrator was able to take me to the late 17th early 18th century when science was exploding. it was very interesting and anyone interested in medicine and the evolution of surgical practice and hospital care will enjoy this. I especially liked the epilogue which did a great job of bringing the book full circle. #AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Granite Stater 11-14-17
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    "My best audible book yet"

    A fascinating story read by a terrific narrator who just happens to have the same last name as the main character. Kept my attention beginning to end. An educational, interesting listen. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Labor Lawyer Atlanta 11-13-17
    Labor Lawyer Atlanta 11-13-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Highly Accessible Read of Medical History."

    I gave one of my rare 5's to this book, not because of its overall literary greatness, but for delivering the rare engrossing read of medical history for the non-medical person. As others have said, the book is not for the squeamish, but one adjusts fairly swiftly. Not only is the history compelling but the historical characters are rendered in multidimensional form and are characters that you often root for. Even the people chronicled for refusal to accept new medical developments are portrayed as normal people and not villainous unenlightened scum.Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Young 11-13-17
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    36
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    "Compelling and Informative"

    This book was fantastic. As soon as I finished it, I started listening again to catch all the things I may have missed during the first listen. Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 11-13-17
    Jody R. Nathan Tulsa, OK USA 11-13-17 Member Since 2017
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    Story
    "Grisly is right!"

    This is the story of Joseph Lister and how he brought antiseptics into medicine. Which was a good thing. Because otherwise ick! Not particularly compelling,but informative. Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 11-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Not for the faint of heart"

    This was a fascinating story told in graphic detail about how Lister transformed medicine. Hard to believe what people had to endure before he finally convinced many of the dubious medical profession.

    It will have your stomach turning, but if you're into serious history, science and medicine, it's a terrific read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brooke Helton Wilmington, NC 11-06-17
    Brooke Helton Wilmington, NC 11-06-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Educational and Entertaining"

    I tend to go on fiction binges (3-4 in a row), but always need a non-fiction read before beginning anew.

    The Butchering Art for whatever reason popped up in my recommendations, and never one to turn down interesting historical trivia - decided to purchase.

    I was pleasantly surprised how the narration flowed in a very story like manner. It didn’t feel like cut and dry historical facts. The author puts you in Joseph Lister’s world - the gore, the fascination, the science and discovery, and the frustrations of a man overcoming both nature and critics.

    Ralph Lister has a lovely narrating voice (his accents were done well and there were no monotone moments or areas that were read as if without punctuation).

    This isn’t for the faint of heart (it’s starts off in the crude days of surgery after all), but if your a trivia nerd like me - I’d recommend.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 11-05-17
    Cindy 11-05-17 Member Since 2016
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    "bookgirl"

    it's amazing the whole human race did not die out before such scientific and medical discoveries came into being. I do not care for narrators with English accents but as they go this one was ok. For some reason an English accent often sounds pompous. I often think narrators with English accents are chosen in order to prove the material is high minded. I realize Lister was English so I guess the choice was appropriate. Just not my favorite choice.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful

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