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Reconstructing Faces: The Art and Wartime Surgery of Gillies, Pickerill, McIndoe and Mowlem

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Reconstructing Faces: The Art and Wartime Surgery of Gillies, Pickerill, McIndoe and Mowlem.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Murray C. Meikle(Author)

    Book details


The two world wars played an important role in the evolution of plastic and maxillofacial surgery in the first half of the 20th century. This book is about four of the key figures involved. Sir Harold Gillies and Sir Archibald McIndoe were born in Dunedin; McIndoe and Rainsford Mowlem studied medicine at the University of Otago Medical School, and Henry Pickerill was foundation Dean of the University of Otago Dental School.
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Book details

  • PDF | 264 pages
  • Murray C. Meikle(Author)
  • Otago University Press; 1 Har/DVD edition (1 Jan. 2013)
  • English
  • 8
  • History

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Review Text

  • By S. Light on 27 October 2013

    This book is a real joy in every respect. The first thing you notice is that it's beautiful, which seems an increasingly rare blessing in books these days. Printed on heavy semi-gloss paper it has the feel, in some ways, of a coffee-table volume which, though lovely to look at might be a bit lightweight inside. On the contrary, in this case the inside couldn't be better.Researched to a pitch that leaves the reader breathless, it traces the lives and work of four men, Harold Gillies, Archibald McIndoe, Henry Pickerill and Arthur Mowlem, all four with roots in New Zealand, and in particlar the town of Dunedin and the University of Otago. It outlines the work of surgeons in the Great War on the Western Front and at Aldershot, Wandsworth and Queen's Hospital, Sidcup. It continues with the development of Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead during the inter-war years, the 'Guinea Pig Club' of the Second World War, the work at Hill End House, St. Albans and post-war at Rooksdown House, Basingstoke. Throughout it's crammed with images of people and places, both colour and black and white - a combination of historical photos and portraits, fine art and facial reconstruction, which illustrate the text in an instructional and dramatic manner. The numerous appendices cover not only the usual references but also biographies of the book's lesser players, a list of all 642 members of the Guinea Pig Club and the names of all medical staff who held appointments at Queen's Hospital, Sidcup up to 1929.In addition, the end cover also contains a DVD which has a series of films of plastic surgery produced in 1945 and converted from 16mm film. It adds up to a meticulously researched and beautifully produced book which will become a definitive account of facial reconstruction through two world wars and more than five decades.

  • By Murray Meikle on 30 December 2014

    This book is a must for anyone interested in medical history or the origins of maxillofacial surgery. The author, Professor Murray Meikle, traces the lives of four New Zealanders as they developed the face and jaw units in the two great wars.Professor Meikle is himself a New Zealander and like the subjects of this book, he left his homeland to build a distinguished career in the UK. Professor Meikle like Gillies before him was a sportsman and played rugby for Otago. He has the distinction of playing against the mighty “Colin Meads”, but unlike Gillies his academic career took him to Cambridge where his rugby experience was put to good use as coach of the Cambridge team.Professor Meikle’s academic training has left its marks on this book for he has dealt with each of the subjects in detail, not in a dry tired way but a book which is easy to read, full of wonderful anecdotes and with names we all know dancing off the pages.Linderman inspired Gillies as did Valadier a Frenchman who was the first dentist appointed to the British Expeditionary Force, a flamboyant character who arrived in his chauffer driven Rolls-Royce. The leading light in reconstructive surgery at the time was a small man called Hippolyte Morestin. Morestin’s contribution to surgery has been grossly overlooked. It seems it was Morestin who ignited the desire in Gillies to become a facial surgeon. Once back in England Gillies lobbied for permission to start face and jaw units. Sir William Arbuthnot Lane (of Guy’s Hospital) was given the responsibility for setting up these units. The dominions, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, were asked to send their best surgeons. In terms of selection, Lane had a simple policy, he let them fight it out and picked the most able, who was Gillies.Professor Meikle punctuates the pages with individual cases taken from Gillies’ archive. Although the concept of immunity had yet to be discovered this did not stop these surgeons. By trial and error it was found that cartilage, with a low immunological profile, could be transplanted from one soldier to another and a supply of bits was kept in the fridge. One can only imagine the recrimination this would cause today. But the atmosphere of “who dares wins” allowed these surgeons to rapidly advance the field of surgery to the benefit of all.After the First World War reconstructive work declined and both Gillies and Pickerill went back to their pre war duties. Pickerill had an unhappy return to New Zealand – all explained in the book.The Second World War saw the rebirth of face and jaw units commissioned by the committee of familiar names – Gillies, Kelsey-Fry, Warwick James and Colonel J.P. Halliwell.Sir Archibald McIndoe and Mowlem were the next generation of New Zealanders to take up the batten. Rumour has it that Gillies gave up East Grinstead to McIndoe and chose Rooksdown House in Basingstoke because it was only 30 min away from the river Test and had the best golf courses in the area. It was East Grinstead that carried fame in the Second World War and Meikle explains why. There seems to have been no animosity between Gillies and McIndoe which was quite contrary to the situation at Sidcup in the First World War. What is so interesting is that Meikle has managed to grasp and illuminate the characters in this book. He makes the telling statement that when god gave out gifts to the human race he gave a double portion of jealousy to surgeons. The book depicts a most dynamic period with surgeons allowed off the leash and out of the turmoil of war came a new discipline of facial surgery. Professor Meikle captures all in this intriguing book.Mark McGurkGuy’s Hospital, Department of Oral and MaxillofacialSurgery, London SE1 9RT.

  • By Ray Reed on 19 April 2014

    This is a book which will be of great interest to those practising in Surgery and Dentistry. It will also fascinate people who are interested in Military History. There is a good deal of technical detail, but set in the broader historical context of the two great wars.

  • By Cartoon Man on 10 March 2016

    The book is hardback, with a dust jacket and a ribbon place marker. It is printed on heavy high quality paper and is a pleasure to see and handle. My father was operated on by Mowlem so I decided to read up about the four plastic surgeons and their work. The book is well researched and written and you don't need to be a medical student to read it. The enclosed DVD shows operations being performed by Rainsford Mowlem. Not for the squeamish but fascinating viewing. Lots of illustrations. I was surprised just how interested I found the book.If you are interested in WW2 surgery you must read it.

  • By John Williams on 18 December 2014

    Excellent record of the origins of a surgical specialty

  • By michael j trenouth on 27 January 2017

    Very well researched and interesting history of the development of oral surgery.


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