Son of a Portuguese revolutionary who moved to Virginia, Aristides Monteiro served the Confederacy as battlefield surgeon and later as part of the ""guerrilla"" battalion of John Mosby, a former fellow student. His wife worried while he was away, his children were glad to see him when he returned, and the resumed his practice after the Civil War. ""Growing up in Goochland County,"" educational experiences and early practices are overemphasized, the war period is unnecessarily detailed (all is thoroughly fictionalized), and his later accomplishments which sound far more stimulating are condensed in a brief epilogue. The information about late nineteenth century medicine could be stated in a few pages, and the prose could use a tonic. Survival unlikely.