Anesthesia by Kate Cole-Adams


An astounding work of nonfiction illuminating a crucial element of modern medicine that works for reasons barely understood―even by expert practitioners. Anesthesia leavens science with personal experience, and brings an intensely human curiosity to the unknowable realm beyond consciousness. Anesthetize: to render insensible. First there's the injection, then counting backwards from ten―and suddenly, you're awake. Anesthesia: The Gift of Obli...

Details Anesthesia

Release DateDec 5th, 2017
PublisherCounterpoint Press
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Psychology

Reviews Anesthesia

  • Marianne
    4.5★sAnaesthesia: “Most of us can barely pronounce it. Yet it has allowed the body’s defences to be breached in ways previously unimaginable except during warfare or other catastrophe. Through the use of powerful poisons, it has enabled entry into the secret cavities of the chest and the belly and the brain. It has freed surgeons to saw like carpenters through the bony fortress of the ribs. It has made it possible for a doctor to hold in he...
  • Text Publishing
    ‘A work of splendid richness and depth, driven by a curiosity so intense that it hazards at times the extreme boundaries of the sayable.’Helen Garner‘Kate Cole-Adams has been fascinated with our funny non-being during surgery for a long time, and Anaesthesia feels like a book that’s taken over a decade to write, which it is. It also feels like you’re having a decade’s worth of conversations with a dogged, but generous and resourcef...
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    ‘The gift of oblivion and the mystery of consciousness.’What is anaesthesia and what impact does anaesthesia have on us? I’ve experienced fifteen or so general anaesthetics over the past fifty years, and I also worked (as a student nurse some forty years ago) in both the operating theatre and intensive care environments. A lot has changed over that period, but the intention of anaesthesia is surely broadly the same: to alter consciousness a...
  • Michael Livingston
    An often fascinating look at consciousness and memory via a detailed look at the mysteries of anaesthesia. The scientific parts of the book are wonderful, but it got a bit bogged down when Cole-Adams explored her personal fascination with the topic - basically I think as soon as you're writing about your dreams you're walking a tightrope, and there were sections of this that didn't work for me.
  • Cheyenne Blue
    Described as a mix of philosophy, science and questioning, this book delves into the mystery that is modern anaesthetic. Convention has it that you go in for surgery, an injection puts you to sleep, gas keeps you that way, you feel no pain, and then you wake up.Trouble is, no one knows exactly how these drugs work. You're not "asleep" that much is known. It's a disconnect between pain and your brain, awareness and unconsciousness, or else it's ju...
  • Vicki Stegink
    Anaesthesia and its attendant mysteries are definitely fascinating, and the questions posed in the blurb seemed as promising as they were ultimately unanswerable – so I was expecting to really enjoy this book. Unfortunately, and without wanting to diminish the decade-plus of hard work and undeniable passion that have clearly gone into this project, I found that the book suffered from trying to be two things at once. Goodreads lists it as a scie...
  • Lee Belbin
    I tried hard to like this book, but it was no page turner. There are many interesting historical bits that I enjoyed but the personal search left me cold. The premise of memories while under was interesting but laboured to extreme. Mind you, I was reading this in the company of a retired consultant anaesthetist, with whom I discussed aspects. My experiences with anaesthetic have been blissful. Thankfully. They have some pretty good tuff these day...
  • Devyn
    I received this book from Goodreads.Did not finish. In my defense, I somehow made it halfway through the book before quitting.Anesthesia is a astoundingly boring book of debatable non-fiction written by a oblivious, hyper phobic woman who spent a decade writing about her biggest all consuming fear.If you, like me, are curious about this book because you'd like to read an engaging novel about anesthesiologists, anesthesia's history, anesthetic dru...
  • Elisabeth Gray
    I loved this exploration of consciousness and anaesthesia. I'm an anaesthtics nurse so there was a lot about the patient experiences reported in the book that was familiar and sometimes troubling. Kate Cole-Adams writes so well and it really is one long extended patient journey or memoir which I enjoyed a lot. I also studied philosophy in my BA before nursing and I felt like this book tied together so many different bits of my own experience, it'...
  • Richardsonb94
    Liked it til about page 200 but then got tired of hearing so much about her. I felt that she brought too much of her own personality into the book. And I found myself having to look up things I thought she could use better words for, not technical terms, but things like "Simpson's sky" or "spell bag". But still quite fascinating in parts....
  • Erika
    You know how it's really dull to listen to people talk about their dreams? About half of this book is literal recounts of dreams (both the author's and other people's) and those parts are not particularly interesting nor do they seem relevant to the advertised central premise of anaesthesia. That's probably because parallel to the topic of anaesthesia, the author is really writing a book about her own hang ups. At one point, a psychiatrist who th...
  • Maree Kimberley
    Disclaimer: I know the author and I appear in this book.I've had several anaesthetics for medical procedures in my life. Most went well- one (which you can read about in the book) did not. But I'd never thought about what happens to "me", where "I" go while under the influence of the cocktail of drugs that is anaesthesia.This is a fascinating book that covers a range of topics around consciousness, unconsciousness and what it means to trust in me...
  • Meredi
    I’ve never thought about whether, apart from death, it’s possible to switch off who we are. I’ve always assumed it must be because that’s what anaesthetists do. I read this like a wide-eyed child and sped through it in a few days. It freaked me out quite a bit and I pretty much bombarded everyone around me with weird and frightening stories about anaesthesia (or should that be amnesia?) Only I kept saying Anastasia like it was about the R...
  • Zchelle
    It was really profound. The author has profound ideas that cross link medical science and psychology, with metaphysics, philosophy and spirituality. But the book was odd in the sense that I kind of got lost in the brain fog (both metaphoric and literal) that the writer described. Parts were scientific but parts were mish mashed with her own experiences (and obsession with learning about anaesthesia), psychological musings, and thus it was part sc...
  • Ameetha Widdershins
    The author goes on a personal quest to piece together the history of anaesthesia and what we know of it now to make sense of the experiences she and others have had. This is more of a story, a journey, than an entirely scientific accounting, despite the numerous references to studies and interviews with professionals in a few fields. I adjusted my expectations as soon as I realized what kind of book this was going to be. I learned quite a bit.I r...
  • Svetlana
    Felt like a very slow book to me. Not sure if I should rate it because I didn't finish. Maybe it gets better, who knows, I gave up after 100 pages or so. Too much of personal stories and speculations I thought.
  • Kathryn Gossow
    I understand the world differently from reading this book. It is not often a book can do that.
  • Theresa Pollara
    This was a very interesting topic. The book was well written and obviously soundly researched. The book read very quickly; as the author did a great job humanizing the issues and historical figures of anesthesia. My only criticism is that, in parts of the book, the author injected too much of her personal thoughts and it became a little too "Dear Diary" for my tastes.I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.