The mesmerizing biography of a brilliant and eccentric surgeon and his quest to transplant the human soul.

In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, but a race to master the inner space of the human body. While surgeons on either side of the Iron Curtain competed to become the first to transplant organs like the kidney and heart, a young American neurosurgeon had an even more ambitious thought: Why not transplant the brain?

Dr. Robert White was a friend to two popes and a founder of the Vatican’s Commission on Bioethics. He developed lifesaving neurosurgical techniques still used in hospitals today and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. But like Dr. Jekyll before him, Dr. White had another identity. In his lab, he was waging a battle against the limits of science, and against mortality itself—working to perfect a surgery that would allow the soul to live on after the human body had died.

Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher follows his 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. It’s an enthralling tale that offers a window into our greatest fears and our greatest hopes—and the long, strange journey from science fiction to science fact.


“Spirited and breezily provocative… 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.”
— The Washington Post 

“Engrossing. Schillace is a first-rate historian with the perceptive eye of a storyteller.” 
— Lindsey Fitzharris, New York Times bestselling author of The Butchering Art

Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher - with SIGNED bookplate!

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