Gravely Mistaken - Tales of Medicine, Mishaps and Body Snatching in Augusta, Georgia

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Grave robbing to procure cadavers for anatomy classes at the Medical College of Georgia will be Grandison Harris' primary duty when he's purchased at the Charleston slave market in 1852. Two curious medical students play a prank on the grave digger that goes terribly wrong. While a case of mistaken identity unfolds, scenes of medical practice and education in the Antebellum South are portrayed. More

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Words: 57,970
Language: English
ISBN: 9781466175648
About Janis Ann Parks

Janis Ann Parks,RN, worked in various clinical environments from intensive care to drug and alcohol recovery and she maintains a keen concern for medical ethics and patient outcomes. She's been a long time resident of Augusta, Georgia, a city well known for its annual Master's Golf Tournament, but also home to the Medical College of Georgia, an institution dedicated to educating physicians since 1828. Her heightened interest in medical history began when she read an account of the grave-robbing slave, Grandison Harris, whose job it was to provide cadavers for anatomy classes. Special collections in the Greenblatt Library at the Medical College provided the opportunity to research information about medical practice in the Antebellum South.

Reviews

Review by: Audrey Driscoll on Sep. 29, 2012 :
The author of this book is a long time resident of Augusta, Georgia and has had a long career as a registered nurse.

The book is related in a fictional style and includes fictional characters, but there is a substantial amount of history in the 32 chapters. The primary plot involves three students at the Medical College of Georgia in 1854 and an incident of body snatching that spins off into burial and reburial, consternation, anxiety and a dash of romance. Other chapters describe the early years of the Medical College and its founders, as well as significant events in the history of Augusta and of medicine in the South between the 1830s and the 1850s.

I acquired this book during Read An Ebook Week in March 2012, when it was available as a free download. I was initially attracted by the subject matter as described in the title because of similarities with my own first novel. For some reason I expected this to be a novel as well, not having taken notice of the word “tales” in the subtitle. As a result I was slightly disconcerted by the digressions from the rather engaging opening chapters into what appeared to be historical essays in Chapters 3 through 6. I kept on reading and was glad I did because those chapters were interesting too, and their relevance to the main story emerged by the time I was half way through the book.

Ms. Parks writes in a competent, straightforward style. Her primary characters are vividly rendered, from students to professors, a black man sold as a slave and an Irishwoman desperate to escape from the potato famine with her children. As the story progressed I came to care about them and how things would turn out for them.

In a way, these interwoven tales reminded me a little of essays by the medical writer Berton Roueche. Like them, they impart facts in an interesting and entertaining way through clear, straightforward prose. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of medicine or life in the antebellum South.
(reviewed long after purchase)

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