THE FACEMAKER – Live and In-Person with Lindsey Fitzharris and Chief Medical Officer David Shapiro

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June 16, 2022 • 7:00 pm


The Mark Twain House & Museum is excited to present a live and in-person event with award-winning author Lindsey Fitzharris and Chief Medical Officer at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center Dr. David Shapiro on Fitzharris’ new book THE FACEMAKER. Join Lindsey and Dr. Shapiro as they discuss the compelling true story of a visionary surgeon who rebuilt the faces of the First World War’s injured heroes, and in the process ushered in the modern era of plastic surgery. 

From the moment the first machine gun rang out over the Western Front, one thing was clear: mankind’s military technology had wildly surpassed its medical capabilities. Bodies were battered, gouged, hacked, and gassed. The First World War claimed millions of lives and left millions more wounded and disfigured. In the midst of this brutality, however, there were also those who strove to alleviate suffering. THE FACEMAKER tells the extraordinary story of such an individual: the pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies, who dedicated himself to reconstructing the burned and broken faces of the injured soldiers under his care.

Gillies, a Cambridge-educated New Zealander, became interested in the nascent field of plastic surgery after encountering the human wreckage on the front. Returning to Britain, he established one of the world’s first hospitals dedicated entirely to facial reconstruction. There, Gillies assembled a unique group of practitioners whose task was to rebuild what had been torn apart, to re-create what had been destroyed. At a time when losing a limb made a soldier a hero, but losing a face made him a monster to a society largely intolerant of disfigurement, Gillies restored not just the faces of the wounded but also their spirits.

The Facemaker places Gillies’s ingenious surgical innovations alongside the dramatic stories of soldiers whose lives were wrecked and repaired. The result is a vivid account of how medicine can be an art, and of what courage and imagination can accomplish in the presence of relentless horror. 

Tickets are $5 and serve as a $5 discount off the price of a signed copy of THE FACEMAKER at the Mark Twain Store the night of the event. Register today by clicking HERE!



Lindsey Fitzharris is the author of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine, which won the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing and has been translated into multiple languages. Her TV series The Curious Life and Death of . . . aired on the Smithsonian Channel. She contributes regularly to The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and other notable publications, and holds a doctorate in the History of Science and Medicine from the University of Oxford. 



Dr. David Shapiro is the Chief Medical Officer and Vice Prisident of Medical Affairs at Saint Francis Hospital and Trinity Health of New England. He also serves as an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Netter School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University and the UCONN School of Medicine, as a member of Core Faculty for the UCONN Surgery Residency, and has served as a Curriculum Developer for patient safety, leadership, and high reliability.

Dr. Shapiro has recently limited my practice of general surgery, critical care, and trauma at Saint Francis Hospital to focus on his executive leadership role. In addition to this work, Dr. Shapiro served the Society of Critical Care Medicine the Chair of the Chapter Alliance and works as the Vice Chair of the Connecticut State Committee on Trauma. Shapiro also serves as treasurer and president elect to the American College of Surgeons Connecticut Chapter


Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from CT Humanities; the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign; The Hartford; The Mark Twain Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; and Travelers.


June 16, 2022
7:00 pm
Event Category:


The Mark Twain House & Museum
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