Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Who said: "Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man..."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Show me the books he loves and I shall know
The man far better than through mortal friends."

— S. Weir Mitchell


Silas Weir MitchellNeurologist and novelist Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914) was one of the most prominent American physicians of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries, publishing 25 accounts and papers based on his extensive experimentations on animals in the 1850s alone.

During the Civil War he worked as a surgeon in the Union Army, treating nervous cases at Turner's Lane Military Hospital in Philadelphia (even though he had no experience in neurology up to that point). He published a number of publications following this period, one of these was 'Gunshot Wounds', which featured the first descriptions of phantom limb, ascending neuritis and erythromelalgia (the 'burning pain', also known as Mitchell's disease).

He is arguably best known for establishing a rest cure as a method of treating patients, especially women, suffering from hysteria - the cure became the standard treatment for many decades, particularly in England.

Weir Mitchell was something of a character. In appearance his gaunt features and bearded face caused some to liken him to 'Uncle Sam'. He was a superb conversationalist and his humor and personality gave him a wide range of friends. He was famous for his sometimes eccentric approach to patients. For example one story (possibly exaggerated with time) tells how he was confronted with a lady who believed she was dying. Having tried all the tricks he knew to induce her to leave her bed, he threatened her with rape and commenced to undress. He got to his undergarments when the woman fled the room screaming!

From the 1880s onwards he devoted his attention to writing novels and poetry. His most popular novels were Hugh Wynne (1897) and The Adventures of Francois (1898). In his later years his fame as a man of letters equaled his reputation as a physician, and he traveled extensively in the USA and overseas giving speeches - but always returning to Philadelphia where he was born and died.

Image from The History of Medicine (NLM), 1881

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Big Time
    Big Time
    by Ben H. Winters
    Big Time, the latest offering from prolific novelist and screenwriter Ben H. Winters, is as ...
  • Book Jacket: Becoming Madam Secretary
    Becoming Madam Secretary
    by Stephanie Dray
    Our First Impressions reviewers enjoyed reading about Frances Perkins, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Bloodcarver
    The Last Bloodcarver
    by Vanessa Le
    The city-state of Theumas is a gleaming metropolis of advanced technology and innovation where the ...
  • Book Jacket: Say Hello to My Little Friend
    Say Hello to My Little Friend
    by Jennine CapĂł Crucet
    Twenty-year-old Ismael Reyes is making a living in Miami as an impersonator of the rapper/singer ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Half a Cup of Sand and Sky
by Nadine Bjursten
A poignant portrayal of a woman's quest for love and belonging amid political turmoil.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Stone Home
    by Crystal Hana Kim

    A moving family drama and coming-of-age story revealing a dark corner of South Korean history.

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

Win This Book
Win The Funeral Cryer

The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu

Debut novelist Wenyan Lu brings us this witty yet profound story about one woman's midlife reawakening in contemporary rural China.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

M as A H

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.