FLESH AND BLOOD: A History of My Family in Seven MaladiesSTEPHEN MCGANN Book Number: 90108 Product format: Hardback
The McGann brothers - Joe, Mark, Paul and Stephen - are well-known British actors who have appeared in many of our best-loved TV dramas and comedies and on stage for almost four decades. Flesh and Blood combines Stephen?s passion for genealogy, academic interest in medicine and his lifelong quest to understand what motivates humans to do what they do. When researching the McGann family tree he was struck by the how illness - or malady, as he prefers, suggesting as it does a wider disorder that can be ascribed to situation as well as the individual - has caused the course of the family history to change direction, often violently. Those maladies he examines here are hunger, pestilence, exposure, trauma, breathlessness, heart trouble and necrosis. Hunger brought Owen McGann and his wife Susan over from Ireland in the mid-19th century and in the 1860s smallpox accounted for some of their children. James McGann was a fireman on the Titanic and survived that night by clinging onto the outside of a collapsing lifeboat, suffering terrible frostbite. Stephen?s father Joseph took the full blast of a German stick grenade at the D-Day landings and his body was shredded by shrapnel, but somehow he survived. Stephen himself had severe asthma as a child which impacted on his ability to speak and sing clearly on stage. Having survived D-Day, Joseph McGann?s heart gave out in 1984. In 1995 Stephen?s wife Heidi was found to be suffering from necrosis of the small intestine, but thankfully survived. If all this sounds like a terrifying catalogue of horrors that can befall us, fear not. It is an uplifting story of a family of survivors and real characters, how illness shapes not only our own lives but that of our descendants too. Colour photos, 336pp.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £5.50