Mr. Humble & Dr. Butcher tells the story of the world’s first successful primate head transplant and how the venture shaped technology that save lives today. This event will be moderated by Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice.
"A rollicking, irresistible tale of doctors playing God, science facing off with ideology, and fate being sorely tempted at every turn." —Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road
About the book:
The mesmerizing biography of a brilliant and eccentric surgeon and his quest to transplant the human soul.
In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, but a race to master the inner space of the human body. While surgeons on either side of the Iron Curtain competed to become the first to transplant organs like the kidney and heart, a young American neurosurgeon had an even more ambitious thought: Why not transplant the brain?
Dr. Robert White was a friend to two popes and a founder of the Vatican's Commission on Bioethics. He developed lifesaving neurosurgical techniques still used in hospitals today and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. But like Dr. Jekyll before him, Dr. White had another identity. In his lab, he was waging a battle against the limits of science, and against mortality itself--working to perfect a surgery that would allow the soul to live on after the human body had died.
Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher follows his decades-long quest into tangled matters of science, global politics, and faith, revealing the complex (and often murky) ethics of experimentation and remarkable innovations that today save patients from certain death. It's an enthralling tale that offers a window into our greatest fears and our greatest hopes--and the long, strange journey from science fiction to science fact.
About the author:
Brandy Schillace is a historian of medicine and the critically acclaimed author of Death's Summer Coat: What Death and Dying Teach Us About Life and Living and Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk. The editor-in-chief of the journal Medical Humanities, she previously worked as a professor of literature and in research and public engagement at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum.