Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Body builders

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:775
  1. Colin Martin, independent consultant in healthcare communication, London
  1. Cmpubrel{at}

A new book fleshes out the lives of the Victorian doctors engaged in the Herculean task of producing the classic text Gray’s Anatomy. Colin Martin reviews it

I missed the vital clue provided by American author Bill Hayes—in the form of an indefinite article in the subtitle to his engaging book—that it would not be the definitive account of Henry Gray (1827-61). In his penultimate chapter Hayes explains why a biography devoted solely to Gray would fill only a slim volume.

Fascinated by human anatomy, Hayes has made excellent use of the sparse data available on Gray’s personal life, focusing his attention and research on Gray’s collaborator Henry Vandyke Carter (1831-97). A junior medical colleague, Carter illustrated what was eventually titled Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. It is really a biography of this book that Hayes provides, celebrating the 150th anniversary of its first publication in London in 1858, swiftly followed …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription