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