THE MAN THEY WOULDN'T LET DIE by Alexander Dorozynski
Kirkus Star


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The story of Nobel Prize-winning Soviet physicist Lev Landau's four-time recovery from death, this biography deserves a prize itself for wit, intelligence and humanity. Landau was Russia's leading physicist when in 1962 he was smashed against death's door in a car accident. Twenty years earlier he had been imprisoned for a year by Stalin and now his bones were chalky and fragile, so that the accident was ""like shaking Don Quixote in a tin can."" He was so affectionately regarded by his scientific compeers that the cream of Russia's medical fraternity showed up at the hospital to help save him. For three weeks his body lived through the most extended trauma ever recorded. His breathing stopped twice, but was recovered. Then, four times he died a complete clinical death, and was each time rescued by supreme medical intuition. After three months, his body began recovery but his mind was utterly dormant. A Canadian neurosurgeon was flown in for brain surgery. At that point Landau's wife arrived from a rest home, where she had been hospitalized, spoke to him warmly and he replied with a blink of his eyelids--his first conscious action since his accident... Professor Landau's life is given with wonderful vitality, far beyond shoemaker Journalism, and many of his scientific achievements are explained. And the author is quite equal to capturing Landau's nonconformist japes at the Establishment.

Publisher: Macmillan