FitzOsborne Press


Dr Huxley's Bequest: A History of Medicine in Thirteen Objects by Michelle Cooper

A mysterious bequest sends Rosy and Jaz on a race against time to identify thirteen strange and wonderful objects – which turn out to tell the story of medicine, from the superstitions of ancient Egypt to the modern-day ethical dilemmas of genetic testing.

Dr Huxley's Bequest by Michelle Cooper paperback cover Can unicorns cure leprosy?
What secrets of the brain did Michelangelo conceal in his Sistine Chapel paintings?
Did a zombie discover the cure for scurvy?
Does homeopathy actually work?
Why did an Australian scientist decide to drink dangerous bacteria?
Is grapefruit evil?
Did the bumps on Ned Kelly’s head predict his fate?
And how exactly did parachuting cats save a village from the plague?

An exploration of the beauty and power of scientific reasoning.
Creative non-fiction for thoughtful readers aged twelve years and up.


★ Shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier's History Awards
★ Listed in the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklist for Years 7-9

 "Intriguing and beautifully produced … Cooper approaches the history of medicine with the same eclectic verve, pace and off-beat imagination as she demonstrates in her historically based novels … the reader is positively bombarded with fascinating information."
Magpies Magazine

"Channelling Sherlock and Watson, Rosy and Jaz journey through the history of medicine ... This thoroughly researched chronology of medicinal inventions, discoveries and disasters is presented in an interesting and engaging manner. Dr Huxley’s Bequest is a fascinating look at the role science, pseudo-science, and convenient accidents have had on the well-being of humanity."
Reading Time

"… strong characters and a believable purpose combine with a deft writerly touch to produce an interesting and engaging narrative that educates ... I can see this being picked up by young readers for pleasure, but I would also commend it to teachers to consider as a class text, due to its quality and relevance to learning."
The Book Nut

 "Recommended … The mystery technique is a fantastic way to tell the story of medicine from ancient Egyptian times to current genetic testing … Given the current STEM emphasis in education this book would be ideal in the library for over 12 year olds."
Read Plus

"… this book offers something special – a compendium of skeptical conclusions on a wide variety of scientific and pseudoscientific topics. If you have teenage girls with an interest in science, or maybe teenage boys, or just know some teenagers, or you know some adults who should know better, then this book deserves a place on your shelf."
The Skeptic Magazine


Dr Huxley’s Bequest: A History of Medicine in Thirteen Objects © Michelle Cooper 2017
ISBN 978 0 6481651 1 8 (epub)
ISBN 978 0 6481651 2 5 (Kindle)
ISBN 978 0 6481651 3 2 (paperback, 2nd edition) - 2018
Please note that the first edition of the paperback (ISBN 978 0 6481651 0 1) is now out of print

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READERS can buy the book from the following booksellers: 

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BOOKSELLERS can order returnable copies with standard trade discount through Ingram Spark

LIBRARIANS can order copies through
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For more information about this book's editions, see National Library of Australia Catalogue Record. 

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