This was a fun read, but the historian in me kept wanting to fact check (knowing the tendency of these kinds of books to stretch the truth or fall into urban legend type myths). You aren’t missing anything if this dosen’t make it on your to-read list. I’d say the book fits firmly in that (much-needed) bathroom literature category.
From Amazon.com: “All in perfectly bad taste. Prepare to be amazed, appalled, disgusted, and hugely entertained by this compendium of indelicate oddities. Nothing is too inane, too insane, too bizarre, or too distasteful for this incredible, seemingly impossible, but absolutely true collection of facts from across the ages and around the world.”
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (2014)
This was just an okay read for me. The author included quite a few related tangents into general medical history of the time. These were probably useful in the grand scheme of things, but I was expecting more strictly-Mütter-focus. It just wasn’t what I was looking for in a book.
From Amazon.com: “Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century. Although he died at just forty-eight, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time. Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mütter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.”