Books by Subject

Human Dissection

First Cut : A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab
By Albert Howard Carter

Hardcover - 352 pages 1 Ed edition (November 1997)
Picador USA; ISBN: 0312168403 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.04 x 8.55 x 5.77
Other Editions: Paperback

Many of us have heard stories about ghoulish medical students and the pranks they play using arms, heads, or other parts "borrowed" from the cadavers in their anatomy labs. Like most urban legends, these stories are both compelling and untrue, telling us more about how we imagine the world to be than how it really is. First Cut contains the observations of a humanities professor allowed to watch medical students struggle with the challenges presented by their first anatomy class. Carter tracks, and mirrors, the students' progress from initial nervous joking and unwillingness to touch the bodies to familiarity and respect for their "silent instructors," culminating in an end-of-term Service of Reflection and Gratitude.

As he sees changes "in personal feelings about death, touching, and the wonderfully complex activities of the human body" in the young men and women, he also puts to rest the memory of his father, who had donated his body for medical study. Pacing the story are three inspired essays on the nature of medical education and thirty beautiful and absorbing Renaissance anatomical illustrations. First Cut, far from being a sensationalistic account of young doctors run amok, is perfect for anyone who is interested in understanding medicine and its practitioners. --Rob Lightner
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Bones in the Basement : Postmortem Racism in Nineteenth-Century Medical Training
by Robert L. Blakely, (Editor), Judith M. Harrington (Editor)
Hardcover - 464 pages (December 1997)
Smithsonian Institution Press; ISBN: 1560987502 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.21 x 9.22 x 6.26

In 1989, a cache of some 9800 dissected and amputated human bones - more than 75 percent of them African American - was found in the earthen basement floor of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. To re-create the social context and medical practices that led to the bones' clandestine disposal before 1910, Robert L. Blakely and Judith M. Harrington assembled a team of archaeologists, forensic anthropologists, historians, experimental anatomists, and ethnographers. Together they argue that the procurement of cadavers by American medical schools was part of a racist system that viewed African Americans as expendable not only in life but also after death. Contributors show that notions of a separate "Negro medicine" did not prevent professors from using African American bodies to teach their students how to treat white patients. Other essays shed light on the importance of surgical training at a time when amputation was a primary means of treatment. Still others examine the bony evidence of diet and disease in a nineteenth-century urban black population. Taking a broad approach to the study of a single, well-preserved site, Bones in the Basement presents the work of both African American and Euro-American researchers and includes interviews with residents of Augusta today.
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Human Dissection for the Health Sciences

By John H. Langdon

Little Brown & Co., Aug. 1993
ISBN: 0316513946

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