Follows Dr. Robert White's decades-long quest into tangled matters of science, global politics, and faith, revealing the complex (and often murky) ethics of experimentation and remarkable innovations that today save patients from certain death.
... admirable ... [Schillace] deftly persuades the reader to take White seriously (he wasn’t even eccentric) and to ponder profound medical-scientific-philosophical issues. Best of all, the book is fascinating ... well-researched and well-written, and has its suspenseful moments. Readers might find themselves admiring and perhaps even sympathizing with White, whose attitude toward brain transplants was always motivated by a principled desire to alleviate human misery. But the book’s value lies in challenging readers to contemplate some momentous concerns. What is life? What is death? Should religion play a role in medical decisions? Should scientists experiment on animals? Can technology that saves lives still be immoral? Who gets to answer these questions?
Robert J. White [...] didn’t see why he should be content replacing individual organs when he could theoretically replace all the organs at once — by transplanting a sick patient’s head onto an entirely different body ... White’s unorthodox quest made national news several times over the course of his long career, but in Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher, Brandy Schillace finally gives it the thoughtful book-length treatment it deserves ... although [...] technical hurdles to White’s dream were being overcome, the moral impediments — not least the cruelty of causing so much animal suffering in the name of medical research — were another matter ... Even more intriguing, however, are the philosophical issues raised by White’s work, and Schillace’s book is most fascinating when discussing how he did and didn’t address them ... As this spirited and breezily provocative book makes clear, we’ll have to grapple with the implications of a human White Operation much sooner than we think.