The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris

The Facemaker: One Surgeon's Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War IThe Facemaker: One Surgeon’s Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I by Lindsey Fitzharris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This fascinating book about a pioneering surgeon was especially enjoyable because it educated me about things I had never known anything about. In very readable prose the author has mixed World War I history, personal anecdotes about individual servicemen, and medical innovations in plastic surgery in just the right proportions. The extensive notes at the end testify to how thoroughly it was researched. The author holds a doctorate in the history of science and medicine. Yet the book is not the dry academic tome some historians seem to favor. It deals with a grisly subject, severe disfigurement, but maintains a light, upbeat tone, much like Sir Harold Gillies, the main figure of the book. She sticks to the subject matter of facial reconstruction without diverting too much into biography, which I appreciated. If you’re not comfortable looking at facial disfigurement, skip the photos in the midsection, but the text should pose no problems.

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