Category: #history

#History Book Review: “Bodysnatchers” by Suzie Lennox

#History Book Review: “Bodysnatchers” by Suzie Lennox

Welcome to another “Quirky Corner of History.” Let me start by saying that this book has nothing to do with the science fiction movie of the same name. The bodysnatchers in this book are not aliens but men engaged in the digging up of dead bodies in late 18th and early 19th century England and Scotland. So what was going on at the time that made men want to dig up the recently buried? In the book, “Bodysnatchers”, Suzie Lennox explains the circumstances that led to rise of this industry. Bodysnatching began with the rise of medical education that included anatomy. Students wanted to be able to see the anatomy as can only be revealed by dissection. Government regulations only allowed for the bodies of hanged men who were not claimed by friends or relatives, to be given to the medical schools for dissection. With the number of medical students tripling in a few short years the demand for bodies could not be satisfied by conventional means.

The author has written this history in a style that makes it easy to read and to follow her logical progression. Chapters proceed from the beginning of the industry, through its growth, and the gradual ending of the practice after the passage of the Anatomy Act in 1832. Along the way, there are chapters on the techniques the snatchers used, the preventative measures that various communities used, and the legal consequences that rendered if one was caught in the act. I found that the book had a good flow that was easy to follow. The author has also done extensive research which is evident in the number of source documents used. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and venturing into another quirky corner of history.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!

Thank you to Pen and Sword Press for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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History Book Review: “Poison Panic” by Helen Barrell

History Book Review: “Poison Panic” by Helen Barrell

Welcome to what I like to think of as one of the quirky little corners of history. In the 1840’s, in the Essex region of England, there was a rash of deaths by poisoning that created panic in the local population. This was due in part to the easy access people had to poisons. Author Helen Barrell came upon this while researching her own family history. She has done a wonderful job of telling the stories of the prominent cases of the time. I found the book to be really engaging and an enjoyable read. She has researched the press coverage of these cases and also the government records of the people involved and what happened to them after their cases were resolved. One of the things I like about this kind of book is that it gives the background that led to some of the laws and cultural norms that exist in our society today. In this episode of British history, you can see the beginnings of our current regulation of drugs and chemicals. I think that readers who are interested in history will really enjoy this book.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Thank you to Pen & Sword Publishing for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Available on Amazon US