Reviews

  • "Thrilling ... Significant and often immersive… The “dizzying” story of heart surgery is every bit as important as that of the nuclear, computer or rocket ages. And now it has been given the history it deserves"

    James McConnachie, Sunday Times
  • "The research that has gone into this book is simply staggering, and Morris has achieved much more than a history of heart operations… It is a study of human beings driven by Olympian ambition and bottomless curiosity. It is, in the end, a book about wonder. And a wonderful book."

    Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph, 5 stars *****
  • "Gripping... The Matter of the Heart details the breathtaking advances that have been made in the past 100 years."

    John Crace, Guardian
  • "Thomas Morris has written not a history of medical ideas about the heart, but a history of heart surgery... The stories come quickly: fluent, wry, admiring ... Morris has made something unique: a history less of people than of procedures, but lively, enthusiastic and brimming with detail ... anything but boring."

    Gavin Francis, New Statesman
  • "I recommend the book to all who are fascinated by the medical world...a thoroughly engaging history."

    Wall Street Journal
  • "Fascinating and compelling... There are also remarkable tales of survival against the odds perseverance, ingenuity and awe-inspiring feats... Morris deftly constructs an engaging narrative that covers a vast range of material"

    Manjit Kumar, Literary Review
  • "With the cut and thrust of cardiac surgery now demystified, we forget that venturing into the thoracic cavity once seemed as daunting as polar exploration. Or more so: as Thomas Morris reveals in this stirring chronicle, even touching a beating heart was long viewed as impossible… Told through 11 pivotal operations, it's a tale of ingenuity... It's rich, too, in alarming details — not least, the injections of strychnine and whisky that featured in early surgery"

    Barbara Kiser, Nature
  • "Thomas Morris does for the history of cardiac surgery what The Right Stuff and Hidden Figures did for the space race... The book is - appropriately - pulse-thumpingly gripping and will be enjoyed by anyone who, in any sense of the phrase, has a heart."

    Mark Lawson
  • "Tremendous. An exhilarating sweep through ancient history and contemporary practice in surgery of the heart. It’s rich in extraordinary detail and stories that will amaze you. A wonderful book."

    Melvyn Bragg
  • "Standing outside this precious and pressured world, Morris provides an even-handed and honest survey of the pioneers and their breakthroughs… intelligent"

    Wendy Moore, The Times