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Making the Body Beautiful:
A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery
Sander L. Gilman

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1


"A fascinating combination of text and illustration and of literary, medical, and scientific information. A thoughtful history by an author who knows his material well and has a sympathetic understanding of human beings as well as a lively sense of humor."--Booklist

"A fascinating and provocative book."--Library Journal (starred review)

"[Gilman's] fast-paced narrative blends cultural criticism with discussion of medical techniques and ethics in a thoughtful study that should appeal to both a lay and professional readership."--Publishers Weekly

"With its bizarre amalgam of new developments in medicine and prevailing trends in fashion, "aesthetic surgery" is a phenomenon that begs for examination, and Gilman, as both historian and critic, proves equal to the task. . . . Face-lifts, nose jobs, liposuction, decircumcision, buttocks implants, breast augmentation, and breast reduction, among other procedures, present themselves, Gilman dryly notes, as surgical cures for what is often essentially a psychological problem--a persistent sense of discontent."--Holly Brubach, The Atlantic Monthly

"Gilman's research is thorough, his analysis thoughtful, and the presentation thought-provoking."--Choice

"Rich in both detail and fascinating illustrations, Gilman's history shows aesthetic surgery as a response to the exigencies of contemporary cultures."--Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Isis

"Making the Body Beautiful is an important contribution to our understanding of th emergence and significance of aesthetic surgery. It is a must for anyone concerned with our present cultural obsession with beauty and the makability of the body. And it provides a model for writing medical history that is not limited to charting the facts, but tries to understand their meaning as well."--Kathy Davis, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"A richly illustrated, delightfully crafted cultural history of aesthetic surgery . . . An informative and captivating history of our attempts to make our bodies beautiful."--Londa Schiebinger, American Historical Review

"Gilman tells a timely, yet previously largely untold tale. By presenting the complex interaction of ideas, social relations, technology, psychiatry (and the madness of doctors as well as patients), the author makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of our times."--Erika Bourguignon, The Antioch Review


"An extraordinarily learned, endlessly fascinating book that deals with a hot contemporary subject."--Elaine Showalter, Princeton University

"This work is wide-ranging, well-informed, and stimulating in its scholarship. It's also provocative--not in the sense of being outrageous, unbalanced, or politically incorrect but in challenging conventional thinking and forcing readers to question their unspoken assumptions. I found this an engrossing read."--Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London

"Sander Gilman has delivered exactly what the title promises: a cultural history of his subject. By trawling a remarkably wide range of material, from surgical papers to novels, high art and films, he has produced a nuanced history of an important discipline within modern surgery. As with all of Gilman's work, the marriage of text and image contributes much to the impact of this major contribution to our understanding of that most welcome intimate of subjects: the history of the body."--W. F. Bynum, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London

"Sander Gilman has done it again. This is a splendid book, rich in interpretation and rich with refrences. The European aspect of the history of cosmetic surgery has not been so fully developed before Gilman brought together the cultural and the medical parts of the story. His wide-ranging references are themselves are worth the price of admission."--Gert H. Brieger, Johns Hopkins University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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