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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
January 2022
Print publication year:
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Book description

Sir Victor Horsley (1857–1916) was a brilliant and pioneering neurosurgeon who also shaped the direction of clinical medicine through his work with the British Medical Association, Medical Defence Union, and General Medical Council. Before the nervous system could be imaged, Horsley operated successfully on the brain and spinal cord, and performed palliative procedures on patients dying from brain tumours. Nevertheless, he became a social pariah due to his support for nationalised health insurance, child welfare and women's rights, amongst other causes. In this fascinating biography, leading neurologist Dr Michael J. Aminoff places Horsley's life and work in the context of the society in which he lived and explores his influence on the development of neurosurgery and social policies still in effect. The many underlying themes to the book include the interplay of science and politics, and the responsibility of physicians to themselves and for the welfare of society.


‘This book, which I could not put down and read in one sitting, brims with wonderful information and details that fully justify the subtitle - Sir Victor Horsley has a prodigious legacy. Aminoff’s multilayered book condensing a lifetime of troubles and triumphs is not only for neurosurgeons, but also for anyone interested in the evolution of the neurosciences.’

Eelco Wijdicks Source: The Lancet

‘This is a book that can be read as a history of medicine with surgical precision, but also as an enthralling narrative that could inspire and guide lives, particularly in a time of uncertainty like the present one.’

Alain Touwaide Source: Doody's Reviews

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  • Chapter 1 - Early Days
    pp 1-9


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