The successful heart operation performed on 3 year old Mabel Chin before millions of TV viewers may be considered a milestone in the field of surgery. How did medicine attain these heights? Who were the pioneers responsible? In this precise overview of the major developments in surgery from the time of the ancients to the present, the men who made the greatest contributions take a starring role and their achievements are placed in the context of history. With all the material open for selection, the author has done a cogent job in stressing the landmarks of medical progress. The slow and tortuous evolution begins with the Babylonians and makes its way through the reign of the barber-surgeon, the discoveries in human anatomy, pathological surgery, and antisepsis. The story continues as the surgeon wins his fight against septicemia and makes initial efforts in neuro, lung, heart and eye surgery. Each chapter centers on a man - Vesalius, Semmelweis, Lister, Jackson, Ferrier, Cushing, and Murphy, and though the book is unified, each part may be read separately. Despite the fact that failure and regression characterize medical history along with progress and change, social reaction is treated peripherally, for the sake of greater scope. Involved technical descriptions are avoided making this a good choice for the youths with a future in medicine.