Books: Pioneer Pathologist

THE RELUCTANT SURGEON (359 pp.)—John Kobler—Doubleday ($4.95).

The 18th century's greatest physician looked and acted like some crazed quack in a horror movie. A squat, curmudgeonly eccentric, he jounced through London in a cart hauled by three Asiatic water buffaloes. A moatless drawbridge guarded his rambling home at 12 Leicester Square. In the fetid basement of his country villa, a vast copper cauldron was kept at the boil; there he melted down human and animal corpses to get fresh skeletons for his grisly pathological museum of pickled fetuses, stuffed one-eyed pigs and cock-plumed hens. There may have been, as his contemporaries thought,...

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