Do you know how to remove a brain?

I don’t, because I’m not a brain surgeon. And David Haviland didn’t exactly teach me how to remove a brain in his book HOW TO REMOVE A BRAIN AND OTHER BIZARRE MEDICAL PRACTICES.

(I say not exactly because he discussed how the Ancient Egyptians would yank out pharaohs brains through the nose before mummification, but I already knew that.)

23217984I forgive Mr. Haviland, though, because the “other bizarre medical practices” included in his collection of super bizarre medical stories. I yammered on and on and on, to the point of possibly annoying friends and family, while I was reading this book. And I have no regrets.

No regrets because I did not know things like the fact that people used to grind up mice into a paste as a cure for a toothache. That the French nearly drove leeches to extinction with their intense devotion to bleeding and bloodletting, and actually imported leeches from other places in Europe. (I’m writing this review unfortunately late so I don’t remember a lot of specifics… or maybe I’m just really trying to get you, Unknown Blog Reader, to read this book. It works either way.)

I loved this book. I love this book. I’m going to read it again one day. Why? Because I forgot some things, because it is history (and I LOVE all things history), and because it makes for a great conversation starter. Even if people might look at you a little bit sideways!

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