The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Facemaker:

The good doctor.

Quick synopsis:

The story of Dr. Harold Gillies, who pioneered face reconstruction of World War I casualties.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

In World War I, over 280,000 soldiers from just Britain, Germany, and France suffered some form of facial trauma.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

The term “plastic surgery” was coined in 1798 well before what we know now as plastic even existed.

My Take on The Facemaker:

A doctor in World War I tries to figure out how to rebuild men’s faces ravaged by war. Well, doesn’t this sound like the most depressing book ever?

Actually, it’s not. To be clear, there are some very depressing anecdotes and some real heartbreak. But somehow, Lindsey Fitzharris finds hope everywhere in this story and even some humor. (When a doctor looks at a patient and asks, “So what kind of face would you like?” you will laugh.)

The doctor referenced is Harold Gillies who may win the award for least arrogant doctor ever. Fitzharris tells his story while also dropping the reader right into the trenches and their aftermath. This is an exceptional book. It is emotional but not overwhelming. I learned a lot while also feeling like I was reading a novel.


One of the best books I have read on World War I. Buy it here!

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