By Wendy Moore
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, the Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice.Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
By Martin van Creveld
Martin van Creveld's Moshe Dayan tells the story of one man and of one people, to whom he was a figurehead - a symbol of their patriotism and their determination to survive. Born in a kibbutz in 1915, Dayan joined the Hagana when he was just fourteen, thus starting early a military career that saw him serve in every war fought in the Middle East from the War of Israeli Independence in 1948 to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Twice he led his country's forces into smashing victories. Having planned and executed the one and directed the other, with his one eye he towers over them like Nelson over the Battle of Trafalgar.Skilled in battle, skilled in diplomacy, like many powerful public figures, Moshe Dayan's private life was far from mundane. The book quotes from little-known sources, including an account written by one of his mistresses, that reveal much about his character and his life away from the battlefield. This is an honest portrayal of both the private and the public figure, which seeks to understand a man whose contribution to the state of Israel in its developing years was immeasurable.
Men Of Air
By Kevin Wilson
The story of the everyday heroism of British bomber crews in 1944 - the turning point year in Bomber Command's war against Germany.There were many ways for a combat crew to die during Bomber Command's war of 1944. Over German territory, bursts of heavy flak could tear the wings from their planes in a split second. Flaming bullets from German fighter planes could explode their fuel tanks, cut their oxygen supplies, destroy their engines. In the spring of that year, thousands of young men were shot, blown up, or thrown from their planes five miles above the earth; and even those who returned faced the subtler dangers of ice and fog as they tried to land their battered aircraft back home.The winter of 1944 was the most dangerous time to be a combat airman in RAF Bomber Command. The chances of surviving a tour were as low as one in five, and morale had finally hit rock bottom. In this comprehensive history of the air war that year, Kevin Wilson describes the most dangerous period of the Battle of Berlin, and the unparalleled losses over Magdeburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg. He tells how ordinary men coped with constant pressure of flying, the loss of their colleagues, and the threat of death or capture. And, by telling the story of the famous events of this period - the Great Escape, D-Day, the defeat of the V1 menace - he shows how, through sheer grit and determination, the 'Men of Air' finally turned the tide against the Germans.