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Brandy Schillace, author of Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist and the Quest to Transplant the Soul will be in conversation with journalist Christopher Johnston for a virtual event withMac's Backs on Wednesday, March 24th at 7 p.m. 

This is a virtual event

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, who taught neurosurgery at CWRU for 40 years,  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.   

About the Author   

Brandy Schillace is a historian of medicine and the critically acclaimed author of Death’s Summer Coat: What Death and Dying Teach Us About Life and Living and Clockwork Futures: The Science of Steampunk. The editor-in-chief of the journal Medical Humanities, she previously worked as a professor of literature and in research and public engagement at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum.    

About the Conversant

Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,000 articles in numerous regional and national publications. These include American TheatreBalanced LivingChristian Science MonitorCleveland MagazineCrain’s Cleveland BusinessThe Plain DealerProgressive Architecture, Scientific American (online) and He served as a contributing editor for Inside Business for six years and was a contributing editor for Cleveland Enterprise for ten years. He is also the author of Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors and Bring Assailants to Justice.

Event date: 
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982113773
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 2nd, 2021