Welcome, that is, to the early days of the American medicine. (A time when your best option was usually to stay as far away from doctors as you possibly could.) This is a story of blood and guts, but it's also a surreal account of how difficult it was for good ideas to win out and for successful treatments to take hold. It's hard to believe that today's cutting-edge medicine originated from such crude beginnings, but this book reminds us to be grateful for today's medical care, while also raising the question: what current medical practices will be the horrors of tomorrow? There is progress here, but it's achieved over a whole lot of dead bodies. Prepare to be shocked, appalled, and very, very relieved that you happened to be born in a world with anesthetics.