Ben’s Book Club: ‘The Knife Man’ by Wendy Moore

Wednesday October 28th 2020, 5pm BST/12pm EDT. Register here.

Join us for the October installment of Ben’s Book Club, a monthly virtual gathering looking at themes ​related to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th ​century, and American ​history.

This month we will be talking to Wendy Moore about her first book ‘The Knife Man’, a fascinating biography of the 18th century surgeon John Hunter. This celebrated anatomist was a contemporary of Dr William Hewson, a fellow resident of 36 Craven Street during Benjamin Franklin’s stay, who ran a private anatomy school from the garden. Both were trained by John’s elder brother William. In later years John advised Franklin on his health.

Revered and feared in equal measure, John Hunter was the most famous surgeon of eighteenth-century London. Rich or poor, aristocrat or human freak, suffering Georgians knew that Hunter’s skills might well save their lives but if he failed, their corpses could end up on his dissecting table, their bones and organs destined for display in his remarkable, macabre museum. Maverick medical pioneer, adored teacher, brilliant naturalist, Hunter was a key figure of the Enlightenment who transformed surgery, advanced biological understanding and even anticipated the evolutionary theories of Darwin. He provided inspiration both for Dr Jekyll and Dr Dolittle. But the extremes to which he went to pursue his scientific mission raised question marks then as now.

‘The Knife Man’ won the UK Medical Journalists’ Association Consumer Book Award and was short-listed for the Marsh Biography Award and the Saltire Award. Other titles by Wendy Moore include ‘Wedlock‘, ‘How to Create the Perfect Wife‘, ‘The Mesmerist’, and her latest publication ‘Endell Street’ tells the story of the suffragette doctors who ran a Military Hospital in the heart of London in World War One. Wendy is a prize-winning author and freelance journalist who has written for numerous national newspapers including the GuardianTimesSunday Telegraph and Express as well as for medical journals including the Lancet and BMJ. She is one of the members of the judging panel for the annual Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize for young writers and you can watch her virtual talk on ‘Endell Street’ here.

You can buy ‘The Knife Man’ here.

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date!

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House.