Dr. Mutter's Marvels

  • by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
  • Narrated by Erik Singer
  • 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country's most famous museum of medical oddities
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 19th century.
Although he died at just 48, 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.
Award-winning writer Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter's efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation - despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter's "overly" modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White City, Dr. Mütter's Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of 19th-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the "P. T. Barnum of the surgery room".

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Creepy. Wonderful. Lost history.

I've been to the Mutter museum and it is fantastically wonderfully, odd, creepy and 100% American. After listening to this book, I have an entirely different context, and I want to go back to the museum tomorrow.

This is "lost history." We know the big stuff that happened, but this book is a wonderful example of the day-to-day lives of people, and of a city that wears its history on its sleeve.
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- Todd

Maybe not the best in audiobook format

Any additional comments?

The book was well written on a paragraph by paragraph level. However, overall, I found it disjointed. It didn't flow in a logical way. It jumped around in time a bit and focused on quite a few main characters. I also didn't think their was enough said on the actual surgical techniques he pioneered and how these procedures affected the patients.

It was ok. The narration is great and it's an interesting topic but I've listened to other similar books on audible that were much more engaging and detailed.

If I could go back in time I probably would not purchase it again.

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- audifan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-04-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio