Not for the squeamish, this book is a fascinating and compelling collection of illustrations from medical textbooks of the days before colour photography, when meticulous colour drawings were the only way to show the reader the visible symptoms of disease. This includes diseases that most modern readers in developed countries will never have encountered, making some of the images particularly startling.
What makes the drawings particularly interesting is the meticulous detail and precision of the artwork in contrast to the gruesome subject matter it portrays. A human hand in the grotesque advanced stages of leprosy is rendered in tiny and delicate detail, for instance, and immense care has been taken by every artist in reproducing the variations in colour and texture of even the most hideous of growths, lesions and sores.
There's something particularly arresting about the images that show the subject's face and clothing. In their carefully reproduced Regency and Victorian clothing with their neat period hairstyles, these are people straight from genteel costume dramas, which somehow makes their disfiguring or fatal conditions seem all the more shocking.
The book's text is beautifully written and informative.
As I've come to expect from this publisher, this book is beautifully produced in every way, with exceptional design.
I bought this on a whim as I've got an interest in older medical illustration. I am thoroughly pleased with the book. The illustrations are all of really good quality and shows the progression of a large number of illnesses and conditions that with the advent of modern medicine are no longer seen in medical practice (well, at least I hope they're not). I personally think this is a fantastic coffee table book, my girlfriend on the other hand disagrees. Apparently, it may put some people off their biscuits.....
A wonderful book giving an insight into the medical practice of yesteryear, and emphasises the wonders and advancement of modern medicine in all its forms. The book is primarily highlighting the art, but the accompanying text is both informative and engrossing.
As my twelve year old daughter succinctly pointed out, it takes "horrible histories" to the next level. She LOVES it.