A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

THE SURGEON'S APPRENTICE

This second installment of a three-volume memoir focuses on a man’s years in medical school and his postgraduate specialty training in England and Scotland.

Case entered medical school in 1955 in Sheffield, England, a city known for its steel industry. It was the beginning of a 15-year journey that ultimately would land him in Alberta, Canada. Evidencing a remarkable ability to recall details, the author shares his classroom and clinical experiences as well as the lighter adventures of student life. Short, lively anecdotes related to youthful antics and friends and comprehensive descriptions of his multitude of residences over the years offer respite from longer sections that depict dissections and specific medical procedures, such as the first time he assisted in brain surgery. Although the portrayal of this particular incident is perhaps a bit too graphic for lay readers, it does include a surprising insider tidbit: “After a couple of hours, partway through the procedure, we stopped briefly for tea and biscuits.” Medical school was a six-year stint—“three years of preclinical studies were followed by three years of clinical study during which we learnt to apply the knowledge we had obtained to treat living patients.” And this was followed by a series of appointments to a vast spectrum of specialty departments. While Case had decided that he definitely wanted to be a surgeon, he also sought to accrue substantial experience in all of the medical disciplines in order to be prepared to practice his specialty in a rural area where a doctor had to be ready for anything. American readers, accustomed to titles such as student, intern, and resident, will likely need time to acclimate to the British terms for these positions. Surgeons, for example, held the title mister rather than doctor, a reference to their origins as barber-surgeons. Case’s genial prose, peppered with occasional 1960s- and ’70s-relevant social commentary, reveals his tender, compassionate attitude toward his patients. But it is encumbered by the author’s extensive use of medical terminology, which slows the story’s pace and makes many sections tough going for a general audience.

A technically informative, upbeat reminiscence that should appeal to aspiring medical professionals.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4195-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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

NIGHT

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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