Tag: #nonfiction

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

The life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850

It’s time for another corner of history. In this book Suzie Grogan explores the history of the Surgeon-Apothecary. The period 1750 – 1850 was a pivotal one in the development of the roles of Surgeon and the Apothecary. Prior to 1750 there was no formal training required for either one, but during this time the official association were formed, licensing was introduced, qualification exams were created, and the roles of these professional men were defined in the communities.

I think the author has done a wonderful job of researching the topic and presenting the history of the profession, and biographical information on some of the most influential Surgeon-Apothecaries of the period. There is also discussion in the book on what kind of ailments these men were able to treat and some of the remedies they had available to them. The author also presents a discussion of the “Quacks” and their “remedies” as well. This book is well organized and full of fascinating information on the topic.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

A True Story of Injustice in the American South

President Lincoln freed the slaves but he couldn’t possibly anticipate how the justice system in the American South would work to continue to oppress them. In this book, the authors expose the institutionalized corruption within the state of Mississippi. They begin with two cases of wrongful incarceration and move into the history of the legal system within the state and the difficulties that have been encountered in trying to establish a medical examiner system. The book serves to expose two people in particular, Dr. Steven Hayne, who performs the majority of the autopsies for the state for over two decades, and Dr. Michael West, a country dentist. The both built careers for themselves in forensics, taking full advantage of the good-ol’-boy structure of the legal environment in the state.

I found this book both sad and compelling. It is always sad for me to be confronted by corruption in America. We call ourselves a Christian nation but too often there are very un-Christian things happening. I also found the tenacity and persistence of the victims of this system to be very compelling. The two wrongly convicted murderers, one of whom spent years on death row, did not give up and neither did their Project Innocence defense teams. In the process of working to free these two men they helped to expose the doctors whose actions had created the sole source of evidence against many wrongfully convicted defendants. I think this book serves as a good reminder that while our justice system may be good it is not always perfect and it is not free from the risk of corruption. If more people had this awareness perhaps improvement could be made at a more rapid pace. I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s written in a way that is appealing to a broad range of readers and the story moves at a really nice pace. This is a top-notch expose and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

This book was provided by NetGalley and Perseus Books in exchange for an honest review.

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

This book is exactly as it describes itself, a history of the care of children. In this case we are talking about orphans, waifs, strays, kids who today would be in the care of social services. The author has chapters discussing the different charitable and governmental organizations that had responsibility for the care of these children. There is also a look back at the development of child care philosophy, from large institutional care to the foster system we are more familiar with today. The author discusses the most prominent movers and shakers in the history of children’s homes and also some of the lesser known lights. The book concludes with a discussion of day to day life in the different types of children’s homes and some of the more notable instances of abuse.

I found this book to be another well written history of a social issue in Britain. It’s a very approachable book and not a heavy history tome. I really appreciated learning about how social services for children got to where they are today and how they have changed along with the changing of the surrounding culture. All in all, an enjoyable look at a critical but often overlooked social issue, probably best enjoyed by those interested in these issues.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Everyday Kundalini” by Kathryn McCusker

“Everyday Kundalini” by Kathryn McCusker

Kundalini is a type of yoga. I have heard the name but didn’t really know anything about it and what makes it different from other types of yoga. This book is on the short side but I found it to be thoroughly informative. The author has been practicing Kundalini for many years and is a certified teacher. The book covers the history of the practice, explains the essential components of Kundalini, and provides the reader with the basics that you need to get started. There is a series of yoga poses that are used, which are fully described. The book ends with a selection of Kundalini meditations and explains exactly how to do them yourself. There appears to be a strong spiritual component to Kundalini and the book gives the reader an understanding of this aspect without becoming too woo-woo. I think this book makes a good starting point if you are interested in Kundalini.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author Website

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

When this book popped up on my TBR I couldn’t help but wonder what I was thinking when I picked out such a gory sounding book. But I read it anyway and it turns out to be a fascinating look at the potential pitfalls that children in Victorian England faced. The book is broken down into 5 chapters each covering a different “cause of death” including Industrial Mishaps, Accidents, Poverty and Health, Murder, and Infant Deaths. It was a bit surprising to me as read the different chapters that the only category that as a society we have really eliminated is Industrial Mishaps. We still see childhood deaths in the other 4 categories on a pretty regular basis, at least here in the U.S. I am constantly reminded, when reading history books, that the human struggles never really change, whether you’re talking about our vulnerability to disease or the presence of evil.

The author uses real stories to relate the conditions of the time and it was really interesting to see how far our culture has come in the last 200 years in some of the categories. Thank goodness we don’t have 8 year olds working in factories anymore. It’s also eye-opening to realize that the concept of a carefree childhood that we have today only existed for a very few in the Victorian period. The book is written in a way that is easily readable for anybody but I expect will be particularly interesting to those who enjoy social history or the Victorian period in particular.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood?” by Dee Gordon

“Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood?” by Dee Gordon

This book is another one of my forays into the quirky corners of history. Dee Gordon has compiled what seems to me to be a pretty comprehensive list of bad girls. The biographical sketches for each are short but very informative. The book is broken down into sections: Courtesans and Mistresses; Madams, Prostitutes and Adulterers; Serial Killers; “One-Off” Killers; Gangsters, Thieves and Con-Artists; The Rebel Collection. The author has collected stories of women going all the way back to biblical times and up to the 20th century. These bad girls come from all over the world, and all kinds of backgrounds. The author presents the historical facts of these women’s lives and then leaves it up to the reader to decide if they were truly wicked or just misunderstood. I found this book really enjoyable and easy to read.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“A Visitor’s Guide to Georgian England” by Monica Hall

“A Visitor’s Guide to Georgian England” by Monica Hall

Do you want to learn about life in Georgian England without picking up a history tome? Well, this book is your ticket. At 135 pages it’s not daunting but it is packed with information about how the Georgians lived. The author delivers the information to the reader as if the reader is preparing to time-travel to the 18th century. Each chapter covers a different aspect of life with topics such as Clothes & Beauty, Home & Work, Health & Medicine, Sports, Law & Order, How to Behave, Going to the Opera, and Gambling. She not explains how things how you can get in trouble with the law, but gives you background on how the law developed up to that point. There is much discussion in the book on how the Enlightenment affected the culture in England at the time. For a more casual reader of history, I think this is a great way to get to know the Georgians and the time-traveler aspect made it more fun to read. This is a fascinating time when the middle class was starting to develop, exploration of science and geography was in vogue and philosophy was beginning to reach the masses. Definitely worth the read!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble

“A Secret History of Brands” by Matt MacNabb

“A Secret History of Brands” by Matt MacNabb

The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love

Welcome to another quirky corner of history! Matt MacNabb takes the reader through the secret history of nine different well-known brands. He gives you the inside scoop on how these brands got started and the controversies that surrounded them. I found this book to be really fun to read, largely because it is so well written in way that is really engaging and informative. You’ll learn about the brands that marketed what today are illegal drugs. Some brands have a hidden history of involvement with the Nazi party. Along the way you will also discover the behind the scenes family dramas that influenced the development of various brands. All in all, this book is fun read with lots of fascinating historical moments.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

“Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

A story that will move and enlighten you! Tara was raised by parents who live on the fringes of society. They are survivalists living at the base of a mountain in Idaho. They claimed they were homeschooling their children but the education they offered was little more than how to read and write. Tara did not enter a classroom until she was 17 and a freshman at Brigham Young University. To say she experienced culture shock would be an understatement. And few would think it possible that she would end up with a PhD from Cambridge University.

First, I love her writing style. The narrative is easy to read and flows very nicely without ever getting bogged down. I could hardly put this book down. Second, her story will pull at your emotions. Some scenes are disturbing but necessary to effective relating the story and the challenges, both physical and emotional that she had to overcome. Finally, I found this book to be inspiring. Tara comes to adulthood with the odds stacked against her but she has a determination which allows her to continually try again. Overall, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Unwanted” by Andrew Young

“Unwanted” by Andrew Young

It’s the late 1800’s in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and a young woman’s decapitated body has been found in a farmer’s field. This book traces the story of the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. The initial challenge is to simply identify her because the head is missing. With fingerprints not yet broadly used in law enforcement and crime scene preservation not even a topic of conversation, the attempt to identify the girl finally comes down to an observant shoe seller who recognizes her shoes uniqueness and is able to actually trace the sale. The young lady had traveled to Cincinnati from her family’s rural farm to meet up with a boyfriend.

This is a very detailed look at a very brutal crime. The story is based on extensive research of the accounts that remain from the time. I really appreciated the structure of the chapters, with each looking at an aspect of the investigation from start to finish. It’s almost surprising that the identification of the body and the perpetrators was possible given the limited tools the police had available to them at the time. This book should be of interest to those who like true crime or historical crime stories.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating  3.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon Canada

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