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A composite portrait in semi-fictional form of a surgeon of today, this carries terrific impact, an undeviating sense of authenticity and an almost morbid fascination for the lay reader. For the medical student- probably even for the practicing doctor or surgeon- it might serve as a soundtrack for successive observation visits to the operating theatre where a specialist in chest surgery is performing an intricate, perhaps even a history-making operation. The story is told us if it were the autobiographical record of Dr. Carter; there are flashbacks to his boyhood, to his decision to study medicine, to the years of sacrifice, denial- and dedication. There are the successes- and the failures, the latter perhaps making the greater contribution to his growth as a man and a surgeon. And while one reads, one makes identification not only with the surgeon, but with his patients- and his patients' families, the fears, the hallucinations, the confidence, the shattering sense of finality brought by death. It has a strange fascination; why should minutely detailed descriptions of symptoms and techniques prove enthralling reading? Perhaps because behind this story is the quality of aspiration, idealism and devotion to the greater cause of saving human life that makes great men. Selected as Literary Guild o-selection for March.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1963
Publisher: Doubleday