Jonathan Mirsky

Invasive Procedures

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets

By

Chatto & Windus 440pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Horrifying. There is no other word for the madness and monstrous ambition of such surgeons as William Beecher Scoville, Luke Dittrich’s grandfather. For years during the mid-20th century they tampered with their patients’ brains – about which they knew next to nothing – to satisfy their curiosity. Scoville rarely understood what he was doing or what the effects would be on his patients as he scraped at and gouged into their brains. Unfortunately, he and his colleagues had plenty of subjects – the ‘guests’ in asylums.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,