Synopses & Reviews
In this book of amazing oddities, Jan Bondeson explores unexpected, gruesome, and bizarre aspects of the history of medicine. He regales us with stories of spontaneous human combustion; vicious tribes of tailed men; the Two-Headed Boy of Bengal; Mary Toft, who allegedly gave birth to seventeen rabbits; and Julia Pastrana, exhibited around the world as the Ape Woman. Bondeson combines an historian's skill in showing us our timeless fascination with the grotesque with a physician's diagnostic abilities, as he examines the evidence and provides likely explanations for these peculiar events. "Fascinating. . . . Well-researched and extensively illustrated with items from [Bondeson's] personal collection, it covers a wide range of medical monstrosities, and there is something for everyone." -- "Entertaining in the simultaneously creepy and amusing way of a carnival sideshow. . . . Bondeson is quick to acknowledge absurdity, and his wry humor, along with his strong personal judgments, spice up the book." -- "Bondeson . . . regards his exhibits with a careful scientist's eye, discovering misinterpreted evidence, tragic genetic mutations, and, occasionally, outright fraud." --
"Dr. Bondeson dissects a dozen . . . examples of human credulity with the scalpel of a forensic historian, and the result is a colorful collection of true detective stories." -- Richard D. Altick
About the Author
Jan Bondeson, a physician, holds a Ph.D. in experimental medicine and works at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London.
Table of Contents
Spontaneous human combustion -- The bosom serpent -- The riddle of the lousy disease -- Giants in the earth -- Apparent death and premature burial -- Mary Toft, the rabbit breeder -- Maternal impressions -- Tailed people -- Three remarkable specimens in the Hunterian Museum -- The strange story of Julia Pastrana.