Through the Pages of History with Michael Whelton
– an art, music and medical miscellany –
Was Mozart really buried in a pauper’s grave? What role did yellow fever play in the construction of the Panama Canal? How did the painter, Renoir cope with rheumatoid arthritis in his old age? Has history been overly harsh towards King Herod?
Just a few of the questions (taken from among a very broad range of subject matter) that are looked at from historical and medical perspectives in Michael Whelton’s engaging collection of essays. Through the Pages of History: an art music and medical miscellany is written in a lively style and a manner that will intrigue but also satisfy inquisitive minds.
It is book that will appeal as much to the general reader as to those with specialist knowledge. It is also a book that the reader will not find easy to put down, once started on a journey that trawls through medical annals, to probe popular misconceptions or shed new light on the personalities and events that have shaped history.
Charles Darwin, Ignaz Semmelweis, Marie Curie, Alexander Fleming, Rosalind Franklin all get more than a mention but, the author also casts his trained medical eye over matters and phenomenon such as diseases and epidemics, medieval witch hunts, tattooing, embalming, ‘humane’ judicial killings. A firm grasp of the facts is exhibited but, always with an good eye for the story or amusing anecdote connected to landmarks in human history, scientific achievement, artistic excellence and so on.
Most importantly, he brings to bear his own scientific knowledge, as a retired medical doctor and in doing so, amply demonstrates how truth is all too often stranger than fiction. Not that he doesn’t have experience in this area too. His previous volume, Portraits of the Past – a collection of short stories and flash fiction published just last year – reads like Joycean narratives set in his native Cork during the post-war period.
Through the Pages of History: an art, music and medical miscellany by Michael Whelton is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and is on sale now. RRP €14.99.