Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor & the Dawn of Forensic Science
Attention CSI fans! This book is for you. Helen Barrell gives readers the opportunity to uncover the very beginnings of forensic science. We take it for granted nowadays that poison can be detected with a blood test, that stomach contents can be analyzed to help determine cause of death, and that autopsies are routinely performed. But where did all this testing get it’s start? Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor, a British physician and scientist in the 1800’s, was a pivotal figure in the development of forensic science. In fact, he wrote the textbook on the subject. The author, in this book, documents Taylor’s life from his birth till his death and skillfully recounts the cases he participated in which pushed forward the science of jurisprudence.
I found this book to very well written and in such a way that is approachable and easy to follow for even a casual reader. Taylor’s passion for his work is evident throughout the book. One of things I most liked about Taylor is that he wasn’t in it for the accolades he received but because he genuinely wanted to improve the science both for the improvement of public health and the prosecution of crime. I was also impressed by how often he used collaborators as a check to his own conclusions. This is a fascinating look at an easily forgotten key figure in the field of forensics. I highly recommend.
Alinefromabook’s rating: 4.5 stars!!