The Facemaker
June 7, 2022  /  320 pages  (is this book fiction or nonfiction?)

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind's military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. The war caused carnage on an industrial scale, and the nature of trench warfare meant that thousands sustained facial injuries. In The Facemaker, award-winning historian Lindsey Fitzharris tells the true story of the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to restoring the faces of a brutalized generation.

Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, established one of the world's first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of facial differences, Gillies restored not just faces, but identities and spirits.

The Facemaker places Gillies's ingenious surgical innovations alongside the dramatic stories of soldiers whose lives were wrecked and repaired. The result is a vivid account of how medicine and art can merge, and of what courage and imagination can accomplish in the presence of relentless horror.

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