Sunday, July 14, 2013

Electrified Sheep Review

Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese

(from the book jacket)
Benjamin Franklin was a pioneering scientist, leader of the Enlightenment, and a founding father of the United States.  But perhaps less well known is that he was also the first person to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on an electric-shock victim.  Odder still, it was actually mouth-to-beak resuscitation on a hen that he himself had shocked.

Welcome to some of the weirdest and most wonderful experiments ever conducted in the name of science.  Filled with stories of science gone strange, Electrified Sheep is packed with eccentric characters, irrational obsessions, and extreme experiments.  Watch as scientists attempt to nuke the moon, wince at the doctor who performs a self-appendectomy, and catch the faint whiff of singed wool from electrified sheep.

Boese collects some very interesting experiments here.  And some that are less interesting than gross.  I liked the book and I found it fascinating in places but I squirmed a little in places too.  The experiments are grouped together in chapters so the similar ones are together but there are short little stories with headings every few pages or so, so it is a good book to sit down and read for a while or if you only have a few minutes at a time.  Everything here was done in the name of science and it seemed like the scientists truly had good intentions but their methods can get kind of rough.  Animals were hurt in the process here.  And you will see some dedicated scientists operate on themselves and expose themselves to disease (including eating vomit of fever victims).  It is interesting to see the scientific process as the men try to work out the unknown.  And it is interesting to see how thin the line between dedication and crazy is.  I learned about a lot of things I had never of heard of before and had a great time doing it.  But, like I said, it can get unpleasant at times so think carefully before you read this, especially if you are an animal lover or have a weak stomach.

1 comment:

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