Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $31.21

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, read by Sam Woolf.

In The Butchering Art, historian Lindsey Fitzharris re-creates a critical turning point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today.

Victorian operating theatres were known as 'gateways of death', Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didn't survive the experience. This was an era when a broken leg could lead to amputation, and surgeons were still known to ransack cemeteries to find cadavers. And in squalid, overcrowded hospitals, doctors remained baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high.

At a time when surgery couldn't have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a young Quaker surgeon. By making the audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection - and could be treated with antiseptics - he changed the history of medicine forever.

With a novelist's eye for detail, Fitzharris brilliantly conjures up the grisly world of Victorian surgery, revealing how one of Britain's greatest medical minds finally brought centuries of savagery, sawing and gangrene to an end.

©2017 Lindsey Fitzharris (P)2017 Penguin AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Butchering Art

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

It was great to hear the story of Jospeh Lister, his family and all his contributions to medicine and surgery. Beautifully narrated, and well written. I'm only sad about the short length - I really didn't want the story to end.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A remarkable watershed in medical science

Well written and read, the story of Lister’s work in the understanding of how germs killed patients following surgery in the 19th century and the introduction of antiseptic surgical practices to combat septicaemia and gangrene. Very enjoyable listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating insights into medical history

Fascinating insights into medical history, well narrated (though some accent attempts a bit awkward). A peek into the obvious from a time when it wasn't so obvious, and the courage it took to get medicine to where we are today

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-06-2020

Great book :)

Great book , loved it. Great narration. Lindsey nailed it . Great book, great book , great book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 匿名
  • 匿名
  • 05-06-2020

Super interesting

I loved both the story and the narration. I strongly suggest listening to this book to someone who is interested in medicine.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kerryn
  • Kerryn
  • 29-03-2020

Beautifully read and inspiring story

inspiring story in these troubling times. Hopefully we get many Listers in the coming months.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-12-2018

Excellent

This book is not for the faint of heart... it is a true glimpse to Victorian times, with all of the gory, messy details. But it's also beautifully written (and performed), and gives us a real sense of what medicine and life was like at the early days of the industrial revolution. It's not overly academic and not overly literary - it's just the right amount of both. And truly, what a unique and compelling story to tell. Wonderful. I should also mention Sam Woolf for his excellent narration, not a dull moment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nora
  • Nora
  • 06-11-2018

Fascinating!

Truly remarkable piece of medical history and the discovery of germs. At times a little gross and graphic, it only serves to highlight how far we have come. I have a new hero!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tweedledum
  • Tweedledum
  • 08-03-2019

One man can change the world

I have been fascinated by Joseph Lister since first reading about him for a school project when I was just 10 years old. The children’s encyclopaedia I consulted then, however, gave little hint of the drama and intensity of the uphill battle Lister had to convince the medical profession that using antiseptic methods was not a mere whim. It is hard for us in the C21 to imagine that time when, although Pasteur had documented the reality of microbes in his work, yet many doctors could not get their heads around the idea of “ the germ”. Lindsay Fitzharris’ book supported by his clear and careful narration had me seizing every opportunity to listen in. There were many shocking moments in the story, some of which, with their detailed descriptions of operations when Lister first entered medical school, could perhaps deter a less determined reader from going on. But for me the most harrowing story was of the time Lister had to operate on his own sister who had developed breast cancer. It is hard to imagine how he must have faced up to this trial knowing every other surgeon had refused to operate. Lister changed the world of medicine for ever. There was no one else even close . Everyone should know about this gentle and determined and brilliant man. We take for granted the notion that when surgery is necessary everything will be conducted in a way to maximise the healing process and minimise the possibility of infection. Indeed today antibiotics are also at the doctors disposal should infection arise. Lister and his fellow surgeon had no such fallback and most post op infections led to death or at best amputation. Reflect on these things.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for L. Reeves
  • L. Reeves
  • 10-10-2019

Animal lovers:B Beware

Couldn't bring myself to read anymore after a horrific description of a live vivisection of a dog. Was so disturbing, it reduced me to tears.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for polly
  • polly
  • 04-08-2018

Very interesting book

I knew a little about early surgery - but learned a lot more! A fascinating account of how early operations were performed, and butchery is certainly the right word. Amazing that anyone survived before Joseph Lister and his contemporaries began to fully understand the implications of opening up a body. It was perhaps a little long ..... but highly informative. More really a biography of Joseph Lister. Recommended.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz
  • Liz
  • 01-04-2018

Very interesting.

An interesting and informative view into the world of the surgeon before, during and after clean, antiseptic and aseptic treatment was introduced by Dr Lister. Also a view at the collision of two sciences that showed the world why medicine needed to co-join biology and chemistry. Showing surgery and medicine as the science based craft it was a pulling physics, chemistry and biology together to improve hospital practices.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Queen of EN5
  • Queen of EN5
  • 25-11-2020

Pacy, evocative and gory!

Lively depiction of a critical time in medical history. Very accessible for a layman with some cringe worthy descriptions of surgery, wounds and infections.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S.C.
  • S.C.
  • 17-10-2020

Excellent

An interesting, educational and gruesome read. I’d heartily recommend it to anyone. Very well narrated as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Elly Parkin
  • Elly Parkin
  • 14-09-2020

an engaging history of listers work.

I loved this. very engaging. seems somewhat topical at the moment too. I hope the author writes more books as I like her style!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jane McNulty
  • Jane McNulty
  • 02-03-2020

Fab!

We certainly have a lot to be grateful for! Thank you Misters Lister and Monseur Pasteur!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jacques Leisegang
  • Jacques Leisegang
  • 12-11-2019

Loved the book

Great insight as to the grisly way surgery used to be done. Highly recommended for history lovers.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chadman
  • Chadman
  • 22-10-2019

Awesome

I never thought to want the read this kind of book, but I found it fascinating and compelling.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.