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Book Review: The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

American release date:  July 13, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/History & Philosophy of Science/368 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

We’ve all heard of mad scientists, of course. Victor Frankenstein is surely the epitome of science gone wrong, although he had noble intentions. But he was a fictional character, that sort of thing doesn’t happen in real life because real scientists are good, intelligent human beings…

… until they’re not.

This book covers science gone wrong through the years, instances where people did things that make us cringe today, the tales extending even into modern times. Pirates/naturalists hand in hand with slavers, graverobbers who worked to further knowledge of human anatomy, horrible experimentation on poor animals, surgery gone wrong, and more…

These are stories you won’t believe until you read them. A couple of them I was already familiar with, such as David Reimer, and Burke and Hare. Others will amaze you, like the cruel psychology experiment that may have contributed to the rise of the Unabomber.

Sam Kean tells these stories in a fascinating way, and makes me want to know more. I will be reading more of his books, and highly recommend this one because enquiring minds want to know!