Here is a fascinating and detailed biography that is a ledger of medical progress in the United States as well as a record of historic value. Rudolph Matas, one of the pioneers of surgery, was a young man beginning his residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans when the worst yellow fever epidemic of the century paralyzed the city in 867. He worked and continued his studies with relentless dedication. At 19 he was a technician with the Yellow Fever Commission in Havana, a practicing doctor before his 1st birthday. By the time he was 24 he had advanced new theories on appendix inflammations, shortly after won fame for a technique of vascular surgery, the ""Matas operation"". n the colorful years that followed he was instrumental in the solution of the yellow ever problem, conducted a formidable schedule of daring operations, teaching and writing. In his 70 years as a surgeon and general practitioner he contributed mightily to operative techniques. The book details these innovations as well as a discerning study of his personal life against a well researched kaleidoscope of his era -- skillfully written for students, medical historians and the general biography reader. It is not quite as unusual however as John Kobler's The Reluctant Surgeon which appeared earlier this year.