Subtitled 'A Life in Circulation" (humor maybe?!) this biography of Harvey, the man who, in Elizabethan times, went against prevailing teaching and realized that blood doesn't ebb and flow in your vessels like an ocean lapping on the beach, but actually circulates. Galen was wrong! Who knew? Galen was a complete clown from what this book reveals of his teachings, but in Elizabethan times, he was a god of medicine and there were professional penalties for straying from what he taught, no matter how absurd it was.
Harvey came from a relatively modest background and rose to great heights. He lived at the same time as Elizabeth the First, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, John Donne, Christopher Marlowe, John Dee, Francis Drake, and Donald Trump (one of those may be fake news). He studied at what was then the center of diversity and education: Padua University.
Language was no barrier because all academics spoke Latin back then no matter which country they hailed from. He kept his head down and studied hard and did well, returning to England to be - eventually - accepted into the world of professional Physicians - such as it was back then. Blood-letting as a cure-all was still in vogue, as it would be for another three hundred years notwithstanding Harvey's discoveries, and his discoveries took time to gain traction since they flew in the face of accepted philosophy.
Those discoveries were made at a high cost to animals which were dissected alive and in great numbers as he demonstrated what he found to be the reality of blood circulation and the heart's purpose being a powerful pump. It turns out that blood was not created in the liver and delivered slowly to the various bodily organs, but was in continuous circulation and revitalized as it went. Parts of this book were hard for me to read as a vegetarian who went into a depression when a pet rat died, but I muddled through it and learned a lot. I commend this as a worthy read.