Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them

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9781595587770: Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them
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In this fascinating and lyrical book, the seemingly disparate but equally marvelous worlds of the circus and the medical amphitheater meet in characters ranging from the sword swallowers and women who lunched on hardware to the sensitive, bullied boy who grew up to be the father of endoscopy. The Mütter Museum’s Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection, a cabinet filled with thousands of items that have been swallowed or inhaled, then extracted nonsurgically by a pioneering laryngologist using rigid instruments of his own design, sets the stage for award-winning author Mary Cappello’s moving investigative portrait of Dr. Chevalier Jackson (1865-1958), his cosmology of objects, and the lives he saved. Its own uncanny, deeply rewarding assemblage, Swallow brings together the complex physiology of the human swallow and the menace of a button box; a willed ingestion of non-nutritive things that is little understood and a social history of hunger; the humanitarian mission that bred the Federal Caustic Poison Act of 1927 and a crusade to make the world foreign body conscious.”

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About the Author:

Mary Cappello is the author of Awkward (a Los Angeles Times bestseller), Called Back, and Night Bloom. A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination, and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, she teaches at the University of Rhode Island and lives in Providence.

From Publishers Weekly:

They are fodder for the giggles--and groans--in every ER: the alarming X-rays of coins, toys, buttons, safety pins, needles, and other nonedibles of both the benign and potentially fatal variety. Award-winning author Cappello (Called Back) brings a poet's sensibility and a journalist's fascination to the modern history of foreign body ingestion through the story of early–20th-century endoscopy pioneer Chevalier Jackson, who meticulously documented his extractions, which along with his tools are on display at Philadelphia's medical Mutter Museum. "We have entered... a form of literature and not of science, a philosophical treatise... for a theater of the absurd," marvels Cappello of the detritus Jackson retrieved from throats and stomachs. Hewing closely to Jackson, Cappello chronicles the odd cases and people--and in one case, an entire family--who built his practice and reputation. Their improbable accidents elicit gasps of astonishment; how did a baby swallow more than two dozen pins, needles, and cigarette butts? Cappello smartly focuses on Jackson's peculiar life, wondrous fine art, and diligent science, transforming an intriguing medical history into a lyrical biography. Medical practitioners and nonprofessionals will be equally fascinated. (Jan.)
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9781595583956: Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them

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