The Facemaker: The Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I

Date / time: 20 July, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Facemaker: The Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I


Discover the touching true story of Harold Gillies, the pioneering surgeon who rebuilt the faces of the First World War’s injured heroes, and in the process ushered in the modern era of plastic surgery.

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind’s military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. The war caused carnage on an industrial scale – amongst that were thousands of men left with devastating facial injuries.

At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero but losing a face made him ostracised in a society largely intolerant of facial differences, Gillies established one of the world’s first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction.

Gillies’ story tells of how he restored not just faces, but identities, spirits, and lives.

Join Lindsey Fitzharris for a poignant account of the soldiers whose lives were wrecked and repaired thanks to Gillies’s ingenious surgical innovations and what his courage and imagination accomplished.

This In Conversation event will be followed by a live audience Q&A.

Lindsey Fitzharris is the author of The Butchering Art, which won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing, and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize and the Wolfson History Prize. She received her doctorate in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of Oxford and was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Wellcome Institute. She contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American and other notable publications.

Find Lindsey on Instagram @drlindseyfitzharris and Twitter @DrLindseyFitz

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(Image credit: Stuart Simpson/Penguin Random House)

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