Suffer and Survive

July 26, 2008

Suffer_and_SurviveThe first biography of the astonishing scientist Dr J. S. Haldane, Suffer and Survive.

Martin Goodman begins his excellent biography of John Scott Haldane with a vivid account of the Tylorstown disaster. He has a novelist’s eye for evocative detail that lesser writers might miss and the result is as compelling as a historical novel – The Times

Martin Goodman’s vivid and reverential biography is, incredibly, the first ever published about Haldane, a medical adventurer in an epic quest to personally explore the limits of human endurance and save lives… Suffer and Survive is much more than a litany of the gruesome realities of the industrial revolution and is often surprisingly funny, littered with anecdotes and quotes from Haldane’s letters… Goodman successfully avoids what might have been a dry academic study and delivers – to use Victorian terminology – a darn good yarn about a darn good man while weaving through a maze of scientific facts and figures. – The Scotsman

Fascinating … Goodman writes enchantingly – The Literary Review

Thrilling – Daily Telegraph

Highly enjoyable. It is a fitting tribute to a pioneer who enabled the human body to survive at the extremes of modern life. – Nature

A fascinating portrait of an indomitable Victorian who deserves to be better understood and celebrated. – Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail

Martin Goodman’s work is literary and intimate. At times, Haldane could easily have been one of Dr Jekyll’s colleagues in Stevenson’s classic novella. The strong sense of dynamic enterprise, however, never detracts from the scholarship which underpins Goodman’s work. – Financial Times

Martin Goodman offers us a rounded portrait that does justice to both Haldane the man and Haldane the scientist. Goodman’s own website emphasises his credentials as a mystic, poet, novelist and teacher of creative writing, which makes Haldane seem an odd choice of subject. Nevertheless, Goodman clearly empathises with Haldane and narrates the various scientific debates in which Haldane was involved from Haldane’s side. This biography flows easily along, and the chapters on Haldane’s researches on nerve gas and the other barbaric innovations of the First World War are particularly moving. Goodman has made good use of a variety of archival as well as the standard printed sources. – The Times

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