The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes

Lisa Rosner


The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes

The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes

  • Title: The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes
  • Author: Lisa Rosner
  • ISBN: 9780812241914
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Hardcover



Up the close and down the stair, Up and down with Burke and Hare.Burke s the butcher, Hare s the thief, Knox the man who buys the beef anonymous children s songOn Halloween night 1828, in the West Port district of Edinburgh, Scotland, a woman sometimes known as Madgy Docherty was last seen in the company of William Burke and William Hare Days later, police discovered heUp the close and down the stair, Up and down with Burke and Hare.Burke s the butcher, Hare s the thief, Knox the man who buys the beef anonymous children s songOn Halloween night 1828, in the West Port district of Edinburgh, Scotland, a woman sometimes known as Madgy Docherty was last seen in the company of William Burke and William Hare Days later, police discovered her remains in the surgery of the prominent anatomist Dr Robert Knox Docherty was the final victim of the most atrocious murder spree of the century, outflanking even Jack the Ripper s Together with their accomplices, Burke and Hare would be accused of killing sixteen people over the course of twelve months in order to sell the corpses as subjects for dissection The ensuing criminal investigation into the Anatomy Murders raised troubling questions about the common practices by which medical men obtained cadavers, the lives of the poor in Edinburgh s back alleys, and the ability of the police to protect the public from cold blooded murder.Famous among true crime aficionados, Burke and Hare were the first serial killers to capture media attention, yet The Anatomy Murders is the first book to situate their story against the social and cultural forces that were bringing early nineteenth century Britain into modernity In Lisa Rosner s deft treatment, each of the murder victims, from the beautiful, doomed Mary Paterson to the unfortunate Daft Jamie, opens a window on a different aspect of this world in transition Tapping into a wealth of unpublished materials, Rosner meticulously portrays the aspirations of doctors and anatomists, the makeshift existence of the so called dangerous classes, the rudimentary police apparatus, and the half fiction, half journalism of the popular press.The Anatomy Murders resurrects a tale of murder and medicine in a city whose grand Georgian squares and crescents stood beside a maze of slums, a place in which a dead body was far valuable than a living laborer.


Recent Comments "The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes"

[library]Up the close & down the stair / But & ben wi' Burke & Hare / Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief / And Knox the boy that buys the beef.--Anonymous doggerelLike anyone who's interested in criminological historiography (such a mouthful, but it means what I want to mean), I am fascinated by Burke & Hare. Serial killers (16 victims) for the profit to be made by selling their bodies to anatomical lecturers in Edinburgh's cutthroat anatomy class market. (No, really.) Strange [...]

I felt this often strayed from the main topic of the murders and the murderers. Great detail is sometimes given on the victims but sometimes I was confused about why those details were being presented and how they fit in with the murders.I also wanted more information about Hare managed to get out of being hung when he was just as guilty as Burke and what became of him after he was released. The details on Burke are fairly clear and gory--but even with giving evidence against Burke why was he ev [...]

I really wanted to like this book, but it was so unnecessarily wordy with a lot of back-story of the town and immigrants of the time that seems to repeat itself (using new words, like trying to stretch out a chapter). No doubt, the research that went into telling this story was deep - and it is a fantastic story to tell - but the first quarter of the books seems to use "too much paint to paint the picture."

Honestly, I thought this book was well written, but it went off on some very strange tangents that made it feel a little tedious. Some really interesting information, but I feel like the author included several large sections just for the sake of length. If you don't mind the asides, I'd recommend it. But if you prefer books that get straight to the point, this isn't for you.

There are several excellent studies of Burke & Hare to be had, but this one probably offers the greatest understanding of the people involved. Its success is not in biography, but in context. Each murder or event in the well-worn tale is used as a jumping off point to discuss aspects of 19th Century Edinburgh that lay behind the events, be it the state of medical science and its students, the economics of graverobbing, poverty and the Irish immigration, the criminal justice system, or other [...]

Rather than a titillating true-crime thriller about the crimes committed by Edinburgh bodysnatchers Burke and Hare, this book presents an examination of the murders from a socioeconomic perspective. The deaths are presented briefly in the beginning of each chapter, and the subsequent pages are devoted to explaining the socioeconomic aspects that led to a)Burke and Hare committing the crimes, b)the victims being reported missing or not depending on how friendless they were, and c)why the anatomis [...]

This is a thoughtful and thorough examination of the murderers Burke and Hare, their relationship with the anatomist Knox, and the Edinburgh in which they lived. It is well-written and clearly well researched.I was a little confused by the citation system used by the author: there are not footnotes or endnotes indicated in the text itself, instead the notes at the end are preceded by a page number and the beginning of the sentence. This may make the text more accessible to the non-scholarly read [...]

In 1828 Edinburgh, Burke and Hare determined to profit from the rivalry between the University and freelance anatomy lecturers to sell cadaversd under Scottish law, it was illegal only to dig one up, not to just run across them. And if you get the transient residents of your boarding house drunk and kneel on their chests, you "discover" a nearly inexhaustible supply!

It was a little to dense to enjoy as a story. The coverage of Burke & Hare seemed quite secondary or minor and was used as a jumping off to discuss resurrectionists, medical history and Scottish/UK criminal justice history as a whole. Burke & Hare were lost in all the facts and details. I feel its necessary for me to pick up a different book to get a good view of this tale.

A fascinating snapshot of a time in history when a person was literally worth more dead than alive. This book provides an in-depth look at early anatomical research, forensics, and politics at the same time that it provides all of the details of one of the most notorious criminal teams in world history.

Dissection (tee-hee) of the crimes of the notorious Burke and Hare. I know I don't need to explain who they are. This puts the murders in the social history context and tells us about the infamous duo, the medical professionals and the victims. I found it mostly interesting but it did drag in parts

Characters brought to life quite well, some excellent insight into 19th Century English social, poverty and political issues. Gets bogged down in some peripheral primary sources on the "similar" cases and details from an early guide to criminal forensic pathology.

Recommended by Elizabeth, Emerson R. Miller Library (West Newark)

A little tedious but some intersting look at this crime.

This is a reference book for a novel I am writing and is very helpful in presenting an authentic and historically accurate picture if the topic .

Gives additional insight into the early 19th Century anatomy situation. As with Diary of a Resurrectionist, and Buried Alive, this book is invaluable for it's historical information.

Excellent history


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    Published :2018-08-15T17:07:56+00:00