The Anatomist by Bill Hayes
A True Story of Gray's Anatomy

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Synopsis

The classic medical text known as Gray’s Anatomy is one of the most famous books ever written. Now, on the 150th anniversary of its publication, acclaimed science writer and master of narrative nonfiction Bill Hayes has written the fascinating, never-before-told true story of how this seminal volume came to be. A blend of history, science, culture, and Hayes’s own personal experiences, The Anatomist is this author’s most accomplished and affecting work to date.

With passion and wit, Hayes explores the significance of Gray’s Anatomy and explains why it came to symbolize a turning point in medical history. But he does much, much more. Uncovering a treasure trove of forgotten letters and diaries, he illuminates the astonishing relationship between the fiercely gifted young anatomist Henry Gray and his younger collaborator H. V. Carter, whose exquisite anatomical illustrations are masterpieces of art and close observation. Tracing the triumphs and tragedies of these two extraordinary men, Hayes brings an equally extraordinary era–the mid-1800s–unforgettably to life.

But the journey Hayes takes us on is not only outward but inward–through the blood and tissue and organs of the human body– for The Anatomist chronicles Hayes’s year as a student of classical gross anatomy, performing with his own hands the dissections and examinations detailed by Henry Gray 150 years ago. As Hayes’s acquaintance with death deepens, he finds his understanding and appreciation of life deepening in unexpected and profoundly moving ways.

The Anatomist is more than just the story of a book. It is the story of the human body, a story whose beginning and end we all know and share but that, like all great stories, is infinitely rich in between.

 

About Bill Hayes

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Bill Hayes is the author of the national bestseller Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir and Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine and Details, among other publications, and at Salon.com. He has also been featured on many NPR programs as well as the Discovery Health Channel. He lives in San Francisco. Visit the author’s website at www.bill-hayes.com.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 26, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Anatomist

Publishers Weekly

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At 150 years old, Gray's Anatomy still sets the standard in medical textbooks, yet little has been written about its author, Henry Gray. Even less celebrate

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The Anatomist: A True Story o...

Publishers Weekly

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At 150 years old, Gray's Anatomy still sets the standard in medical textbooks, yet little has been written about its author, Henry Gray. Even less celebrate

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The Anatomist: A True Story o...

The New York Times

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One man’s quest to learn everything he could about the men behind Gray’s Anatomy.

Jan 13 2008 | Read Full Review of The Anatomist: A True Story o...

Entertainment Weekly

A less smitten biographer might have abandoned writing about Henry Gray when he learned that scant historical record remained of the anatomist behind the classic 1858 medical tome that would spawn a hit TV show.

Dec 14 2007 | Read Full Review of The Anatomist: A True Story o...

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