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Steep Turn


A courageous and meticulous doctor follows his dreams, saving a few lives and flying more than a few passengers to their...

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A physician slowly departs the breakneck life of a surgeon for the thrills of a career in the air in this memoir. 

“It seemed all the stars were aligned” when the young Crawley arrived in Spokane, Washington, for the medical internship described in this follow-up to his 2013 memoir, A Mile of String. Crawley, newly married, had a family on the way and a burgeoning career as a physician before him. But his path wouldn’t be free of heart-stopping challenges and derring-do. Over the course of the book’s pages, the reader is privy to the joys and sorrows of a medical intern at a large hospital, a family physician, a novice flight surgeon, and a commercial airline pilot. Readers see Crawley diagnosing and rehydrating a severely ill little girl, presiding over the death of an infant while his own daughter Jill is being born healthy in an adjoining room, and, later, stitching up a sailor who “needed to have his face re-attached” as a flight surgeon for the Navy Reserves. It’s during this time in the Reserves that Crawley discovered a great love of aircraft and, eventually, of flying them. “With the canopy open and the wind blowing in my face, I could feel the adrenaline flowing through my body,” he writes of his first solo flight. “It was a wonderful kind of excitement, both exhilarating and scary at the same time.” The language can tend toward the clinical: “I made a short incision just proximal and anterior to the medial malleolus (the prominent bony knob on the inner aspect) of the ankle.” And while medical professionals and seasoned pilots will likely nod their heads and smile (or wince) at just the right times, the rest of the readers may, from time to time, find themselves scratching their cranial epidermis. But the larger story Crawley has to relate here—that of a young man who mastered one profession and then, driven by passion, conquered another—remains an inspiring one. “Never be afraid to follow the path to your dreams,” Crawley writes. “It will make all the difference.” In this detailed and emotionally honest narrative, he certainly proves that, at least in his own case, the advice is sound.  

A courageous and meticulous doctor follows his dreams, saving a few lives and flying more than a few passengers to their destinations on the way.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5150-0968-9

Page Count: 404

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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