THE SLEEP OF LIFE by Richard Gordon


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Dr. Gordon, as has been established through the years, is no slouch even if the history of anesthesia, spelled out here to its full five syllables, is hard to infuse with much beyond its natural somnific properties. We know it all too well -- although as told in the more ornate script of the 19th century by a young journalist of reasonable enterprise, Guy Romilly, it may appeal to some of your middle fiction readers, ready to follow Romilly from the scalpel of Robert Liston in a north London hospital to Wells, in Hartford, who inhaled (nitrous oxide) while having an extraction, on to Boston where almost simultaneously Morton used an ""entirely different"" chemical -- ether. Back in England, Listen was ready to try the new ""Yankee dodge"" as he amputated a leg; a certain notoriety followed. Romilly carries his reportage further to Simpson who applied chloroform during childbirth; and there are further accounts of cholera, pneumonia (Romilly's own) before his novel breathes in for the last time.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1975
Publisher: Dial