Author: Andy Dougan
Age/Audience: Adult, or advanced/patient teens with a general interest in historical science
Genre/Style: History of Medicine
Read If You Like: Context driven nonfiction, novel-styled nonfiction, Frankenstein
This detailed discussion of turn of the century anatomical science has a lot going for it and a lot against it. While the information included is presented in an approachable, readable format it tends to stray quite easily. While I agree it’s tactful to understand Matthew Clydesdale as a person before we read several pages about his execution and dissection, a whole chapter devoted to his arrest, trial, and time in jail is completely unnecessary. The book seems to be written for people who have a general curiosity but aren’t looking for a research tool or anything too technical.
For steam punk readers and writers the number of diagrams and quotes from period newspapers could prove useful. The time period is earlier than most steam punk stories, but it does give a good understanding of the world older characters would have grown up in, and gives an appreciation for how far medicine came in just a few decades.
Bottom Line: Interesting facts, approachable style, but too unfocused to really enjoy. Also not nearly enough connection back to Mary Shelley to justify the title.