DR JAMES BARRY, a woman ahead of her time

: du Preez (M.) & Dronfield (J.)

R 260.00
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479pp., b/w & colour illus., hardback, d.w., London, 2016

 

A biography of Dr James Barry (c. 1789-1799 – 25 July 1865, born Margaret Ann Bulkley), an Irish military surgeon in the British Army. Although Barry lived his adult life as a man, he was assigned female at birth. He chose to live as a man so that he might study at university and pursue a career as a surgeon. His sex was only discovered by the public and his colleagues after his death. James Barry arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1816. He became Medical Inspector for the Colony and Lord Charles Somerset's personal physician and close friend. He left the Cape in 1828.

This is an extraordinary and remarkable story of the transformation of Margaret Bulkley, a red-haired Irish girl from Cork, into Dr James Barry, physician, medical reformer, friend of the rich, friend of the poor, and fearless and irascible scourge of the stupidity, complacency, ineptitude and greed of Britain's Colonial establishment...Meticulously researched and written with great verve, this biography is about as good as it gets." Neil McKenna, author of "Fanny & Stella: the young men who shocked Victorian England"

Before he retired Michael du Preez, a medical specialist, was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He lives in Cape Town.
Jeremy Dronfield is a biographer and novelist. He lives in Cambridgeshire.