Tuesday, February 4, 2020

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics

18 Tiny Deaths is a biography and history retelling of the life of Frances Glessner Lee and the origins of modern forensic medicine. Due out 4th Feb 2020 from Sourcebooks, it's 336 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.

This is a fascinating and meticulously researched look at a previously unfamiliar (to me) pioneer in the field of forensics by Bruce Goldfarb. The biography covers her early upbringing as a child of a very wealthy family and her early interest in medicine (Harvard medical was not an option, since she was female, no matter how wealthy and well favored she was). The book includes exhaustive annotations and links as well as a generous number of pertinent period photographs. There is a wealth of material for further reading included in the notes.  There is a prodigious amount of minutiae included in the text which can be a trifle overwhelming. I found it interesting both from a scientific and cultural point of view. Despite being from the wealthiest stratum of society, she was constrained in her educational choices, her career outlooks and work.

It's unclear from the publishing info available online, but the eARC I received has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references. I hope the ebook release version does also. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. Presumably that feature will carry through to the final release version.

This would be a good choice for readers of true crime, history, forensics, and biography.

Five stars, a worthy biography of a subject who should have more public recognition.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.


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