Books: The Resurrectionist

DESPERATE MISSION (310 pp.)—Joel Brand's story, as told by Alex Weissberg—Criterion ($4.95).

Up the close and down the stair, But and ben wi' Burke and Hare. Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief, Knox the boy that buys the beef.

This macabre little song chilled many bones in Edinburgh when the "resurrectionists," i.e., men who stole fresh bodies for surgical research, flourished a century or so ago. A true resurrectionist, who dealt in live bodies while practicing a trade in mercy on the bloody landscape of the Europe of the 19403, is a man named...

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