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Death, Disease & Dissection (Paperback)

The Life of a Surgeon Apothecary 1750 - 1850

P&S History > Social History P&S History > True Crime

By Suzie Grogan
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 149
ISBN: 9781473823532
Published: 30th October 2017
Expected Re-release Date: 30th June 2024


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Imagine performing surgery on a patient without anaesthetic, administering medicine that could kill or cure. Welcome to the world of the surgeon-apothecary... During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries significant changes occurred in medicine. New treatments were developed and medical training improved. Yet, with doctors' fees out of the reach of ordinary people, most relied on the advice of their local apothecary, among them, the poet John Keats, who worked at Guys Hospital in London. These men were the general practitioners of their time, making up pills and potions for everything from toothache to childbirth. Death, Disease and Dissection examines the vital role these men played their training, the role they played within their communities, the treatments they offered, both quack and reputable against the shocking sights and sounds in hospitals and operating theatres of the time. Suzie Grogan transports readers through 100 years of medical history, exploring the impact of illness and death and bringing the experiences of the surgeon apothecary vividly to life.

As featured in

Waterside 01/05/21

Excerpt from book as featured in

Independent Practitioner Today, July/August 2018

Excerpt from book as featured in

Independent Practitioner Today, June 2018

Excerpt from book as featured in

Independent Practitioner Today, May 2018

Excerpt from book as featured in

Independent Practitioner Today, April 2018

Excerpt from book as featured in

Independent Practitioner Today, March 2018

The appendixes feature treatments, common complaints and women in medicine. I’m glad they’re included but I wish more focus had been given to those topics.

Still, this concise handbook is a good addition to any medical historian’s library, especially if they are new to the topic.

This book also includes some very nice black and white images for context. Who doesn’t love old-timey medical drawings?

Read the complete review here.

The Lazy Historian, Jill Hamilton

Grogan talks about the use of charitable voluntary hospitals for the treatment of the poor homeless, rather than the wealthy, DIY apothecary pills and medicines, human dissection to advance the medical field, the true conditions behind pre-Victorian conditions (like perpetual fever), and the varied expectations of doctors, barbers, surgeons, and pharmacists with steadying, rhythmic narration, which is not what I was expecting from a book with this content and cover.

GoodReads, Kristine Fisher

Article: It's been over 200 years since the term 'General Practitioner' was first used. Here, Suzie Grogan looks at the development of a profession that became the cornerstone of the National Health Service as featured in

Your Family History, February 2018

The appendix of the book is particularly interesting. As someone not well-versed in medical terminology, the appendix which detailed the most common ailments was a very enjoyable read.

Read the complete review here.

Parkaman Magazine

The history of medicine is endlessly fascinating, and Suzie Grogan's new title is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of anyone with medical ancestors...

...This well-researched book explores the development of the profession, the medical training undertaken by students, and surgeons' links with the 'resurrection men' who supplied corpses for dissection. Especially interesting are the case studies of little-known surgeon apothecaries who tirelessly served their communities and had a huge impact on medicine.

WDYTYA? January 2018 – reviewed by Michelle Higgs

Even if you think the subject is not your 'thing', there is bound to be something here that interests you; it is a fascinating (and well-illustrated) study of health and medical history covering the century from 1750 to 1850.

Your Family History, January 2018

As featured in

Wellington Weekly News
 Suzie Grogan

About Suzie Grogan

Suzie Grogan is a freelance writer in the fields of literary and social history. She is the author of Shell Shocked Britain: The First World War’s Legacy for Britain’s Mental Health (Pen and Sword, 2014) and Death Disease & Dissection: The Life of a Surgeon Apothecary 1750-1850 (Pen and Sword, 2017) also inspired by her lifelong study of John Keats.
Suzie writes regularly for national magazines and is a contributor to The Wordsworth Trust’s Romanticism Blog and others focusing on the Romantic Movement. She has written widely on the subject of mental health and focuses on how art and landscape can combine to inspire and nurture.
Suzie now lives in Brittany with her husband and rescue dog, Teddy.

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