John Hunter rose from a poor Scottish farming family to become one of the leading men of science and medicine. His courage (he inserted a knife's point covered in pus into his urethra
to see if syphilis and gonorrhea were the same disease! omg!), his lack of hypocrisy (in an age when even surgeons, who relied on dissections, refused to let their bodies be disturbed, he actually requested an autopsy), and his clear-sighted reliance on evidence instead of assumptions and tradition helped him transform surgery and natural sciences. From a farm boy with an unfashionable accent he became the chosen surgeon of such luminaries as Lord Byron, Benjamin Franklin, and William Pitt the Younger. Unfortunately, he poured all his money into creating an incredible natural history museum, so upon his death his family was left destitute. Additionally, his brother-in-law stole his papers in order to steal his ideas and ensure that Home, not Hunter, got the glory of the discoveries.
Moore weaves together the zeitgeist and scientific theories of the time with the facts of Hunter's extraordinary life. His story is fascinating, and her writing is lucid and energetic.