How to Remove a Brain

And Other Bizarre Medical Practices

  • Imprint: Summersdale
  • Format: Ebook
  • Price: £6.99
  • Publication date: 4 June 2012
  • ISBN: 9780857657466

About the book

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to digest chewing gum?

What hiccups are for?

Whether it’s safe to fly with breast implants?

Taking in everything from the outrageous (yes, Hitler was addicted to crystal meth) to the eye-watering (such as the renowned surgeon who accidentally cut off his patient’s left testicle) to the downright disgusting (like the cure for toothache used by the Egyptians involving dead mouse paste), this book proves that medical science is not for the faint-hearted, lily-livered or weak-stomached!


'Hilarious, and sometimes stomach-turning, vignettes.'

New Scientist

'Delightfully disgusting'

Whatchamacallit Reviews

'Haviland once again proves ideally suited for this sort of writing. His style is simultaneously breezy and matter-of-fact, bringing each vile vignette to amusing, engaging life. And it's clear that this is a guy who does his homework. These subjects, as weird and disgusting as they might be, have been pretty thoroughly researched. It creates a reading experience that is both entertaining and - God help us - educational.'

The Maine Edge

'I'm not going to lie, I read this book with unabashed joy, and in the process I truly feel I learned a lot. Granted, I'm not sure when the information I learned will ever come into play (how many times a day does Hitler's potential Crystal Meth addiction come into play?), but it's still all interesting to know, and certainly fun to read, thanks to Haviland's ability to be both educational and whimsical at the exact same time.'

Such a Book Nerd

'… so incredibly brilliant. David Haviland, I don't know you, or why you create books like this and Why Dogs Eat Poop, but you are clearly smarter than your maturity level.'

Kickass Book Reviews

'The truth, in medicine, can sometimes be stranger than fiction. Author and researcher David Haviland has compiled an account of the lighter - and occasionally darker - side of medical history that contains fascinating insights, in spite of its off-beat title.'

Irish Medical Times

'David Haviland's latest book is a hilarious look at medicine throughout history... a painstakingly researched compendium of bizarre facts from the world of medicine, administered with a healthy dose of humour… a must for fans of the bizarre, and perfect prep for livening up dull dinner party conversations.'

GQ (India)

'Reading medical books usually fills me with dread (and I'm a doctor!) but this is one with a difference - it's hilarious! David has put together a compilation of interesting and intriguing facts that anyone would find hard not to like. I keep finding myself having to read that little bit more each time I put it down! If you've ever wondered why so many murderers are doctors or how frequently a person can vomit in a twelve-hour period then this book has the answer! I now know if people can grow horns, which surgeon accidentally cut off his patient's testicle (ouch!) and why pig farmers are more likely to have their appendixes removed. My pub conversations are going to be so much better! This book is a must for anyone with a thirst for funny and far-reaching medical anecdotes. I'm hooked!'

Dr Ranj, media medic

'provides answers to many burning questions… It proves that medical science is not for the lily-livered.'

BMA News

Features in the Mail on Sunday, 30th September 2012.

Mail on Sunday

'A must for every GP's Christmas stocking'

Pulse Online

'… an effortlessly readable introduction to the history and practice of medicine via its most fascinating and entertaining manifestations. Find out precisely how crocodile dung was used as a contraceptive, how long it takes to digest chewing gum, and the true purpose of hiccups… A surprisingly informative little book, based on solid research but written to entertain.'

The Good Book Guide