Covering over 100 years of history, the forgotten stories of some of Britain’s resurrection men or ‘sack ’em up men’ are finally retold – the tales of Burke and Hare, for once, left out of this new compilation of macabre stories.
‘Bodysnatchers: Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain’s Resurrection Men’ looks at the rise of bodysnatching from the early days of the student and surgeon bodysnatchers, to the ‘Resurrection Gangs’ and finally the demise of the trade following the passing of the 1832 Anatomy Act.
Archive documents never before published have been included to help highlight the scale of the ‘problem’ this period in history created. From double entries in the criminal registers at The National Archives to evidence presented at the trial of student bodysnatchers John Beaumont and John Barker held at West Yorkshire Archives.
It’s index is filled with individual names of bodysnatchers as well as the names of subjects stolen for the dissecting table. If you wish to visit some of these sites, then a full list of locations mentioned in the book can also be found.
As featured on Historic UK
This is a fascinating and absorbing topic, convincingly covered; a book, once read, not likely to be soon forgotten.The Long Victorian
‘This must be and will probably remain the definitive work on the history and techniques of bodysnathchers as it is difficult to believe too many people will wish to devote a considerable part of their lives to this gruesome and difficult subject, delving into the coffins and graves of our long gone (in more ways than one) relatives. Yet the author is to be congratulated on her exhaustive research as she clearly establishes that the use of the cadavers and their supply was at the core of research and development of the skills of surgeons.’Robert Bartlett
‘Lennox identifies the strong and mixed emotions that human dissection and bodysnatching generated and presents her evidence succinctly. She also pays tribute to Ruth Richardson’s scholarly account Death, Dissection and the Destitute, which is more reflective on this subject. Most of the tales that Lennox relates are macabre, many are humorous and a few are somewhat shocking. This book should appeal to both medical historians and general readers with strong stomachs though it may not be suitable as a Christmas present for the squeamish.’British Society for the History of Medicine
‘Former archivist Suzie Lennox has been covering tales of bodysnatchers – otherwise known as Resurrection Men – on her blog and on social media for a while, but this is her first full-length book on the subject. It’s a well-constructed, fascinating read and Suzie’s knowledge and enthusiasm shines through…. There’s plenty of gory detail here about the bodies themselves (the press at the time seemed to glory in this). However, there’s also a welcome and successful attempt to contextualise the acts of the Resurrection Men, to place them with a society that placed more value on the possessions a body was buried with, than on the body itself.
Read it for: An enthralling, disturbing, account of a dark part of our history.’ Your Family History, October 2016
….Lennox handles this very specialist subject with an authoritative air and hugely entertaining, evocative style. It is to her credit that she resists the temptation to stray into sensationalism, even when the material virtually invites it. She brings the Georgian underworld vividly back to life and in doing so, rightly resurrects some colourful characters that might otherwise never have seen the light of day again.All About History, September 2016
If you do happen to come across any information, however slight in relation to any of the stories on my blog or within my book, or indeed new ones, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at email@example.com or get in touch viaTwitter or Facebook.