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War Hospital: A True Story Of Surgery And Survival Paperback – December 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (December 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158648267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586482671
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A moving account of medical workers' experiences in the Balkans." -- Good Housekeeping

"Sheri Fink is...a superb chronicler." -- The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Sheri Fink's reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, among other journalism prizes. Most recently, her coverage of Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac received the Mike Berger Award from Columbia University and the Beat Reporting Award from the Association of Healthcare Journalists. Fink, a former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, received her MD and PhD from Stanford University. Her first book, War Hospital, is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

More About the Author

Dr. Sheri Fink is the author of the New York Times bestseller Five Days At Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, the Ridenhour Book Prize, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Fink's reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, among other journalism prizes. Most recently, her coverage of Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac received the Mike Berger Award from Columbia University and the Beat Reporting Award from the Association of Healthcare Journalists. Fink, a former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, received her MD and PhD from Stanford University. Her first book, War Hospital, is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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It is an amazing story and very well written.
bookworm111
Because we know and care about them, Fink's subtle gradual introduction of ethical and moral issues as the doctors and nurses confront them is very powerful.
Harriet Washington
I good read for anyone who is interested in medicine, ethics, history or a great dramatic narrative.
B.A.Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Washington on June 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whether you are interested in contemporary history, war, medicine, morality and hope, you should read War Hospital. This nonfiction book about the siege of single town is an inspiring chronicle of true heroism by physicians and nurses in the face of war and its assorted horrors including internecine carnage, genocide and malign indifference. However, I first looked at this site not to see whether others enjoyed reading the book but because I wanted to see whether War Hospital had affected anyone else as much as it had me. I see that it has, and so I feel it's important to acknowledge the achievement of this book because I want everyone to have the experience I had.

What was that?

Well, as a social worker I was always quite skeptical of people who complained of `compassion fatigue' or bemoaned their inability to care deeply about the unspeakable assorted cruelties and human rights abuse that scar the globe. I looked at such complaints as little more than excuses for choosing not to care. Yet I couldn't ignore the fact that I was becoming inured to the news of genocide in the Balkans, especially because it was being rapidly supplanted by genocide in other areas such as Rwanda. Although genocide is equally evil throughout the world and suffering itself has no color, I resented the fact that Africans were getting less press and global outrage. and because journalists were also tiring of the Balkans they began to desert it for the next hotspot du jour. In the age of information overload these were all competing for our attention and the surfeit of shocking details were producing a sort of ennui. I would never have admitted to compassion fatigue, but it was becoming harder to access my outrage and easier to fall into a melancholy desire to not know more.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "rtom152" on November 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I picked up War Hospital very casually. I hate to admit that I know very little of the Balkans other than a general feeling that it was war torn and had been for pretty much my whole life. This book changed this general apathy to the region in general and the peoples Croat, Serb, and Muslim in particular. I suggest every single person read this book--not only is it a great introduction to a small part of the Balkan conflicts, it is gripping and heart-rending. As I read it I felt chills-- sometimes I had to put it down. It also provides insite into the mindset of the international community who let 50,000 people fighting a better equipped enemy with only five doctors (none specifically trained in surgery). All in all-- a good read. I'm defintely going on to read more about the area and the conflict.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Book Maven on December 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I don't think I really understood what the war in Bosnia was all about before reading Dr. Sheri Fink's fabulous new book. She has a marvelous narrative gift. This book reads like a compelling screenplay, yet is marvelously researched and documented. As Chris Hedges wrote in his glowing review in the December 22, 2003 New York Times, Dr. Fink dramatically tells the story of the war by focusing on a small group of brave young doctors trapped in the beseiged city of Srebrenica with about 50,000 civilians. Without access to supplies, equipment and even electricity, we struggle along with them to deal with the frustrations, ethical dilemmas, rivalries and romances of their lives, while the larger picture of the war, the shocking failure of the UN and the West to intervene, plays out. The targeting of medical aid workers in Iraq (Dr. Fink worked there recently, I have read) takes on new meaning after reading her book and seeing how aid is often another (albeit deplorable) weapon of war. This book deserves wide notice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bob Musil on May 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an important, gripping book about doctors in wartime. And it is an impressive, beautifully written first book by Sheri Fink. War Hospital is a powerful, haunting narrative presented in fast-paced, present time, first person narrative that unfolds like a Greek tragedy. This is the story of a group of very young, inexperienced doctors amidst the siege and eventual fall of Srebnenica that ended with genocide in Europe as the world stood by. The very fact that our protagonists - humanitarians and idealists-are trapped in the midst of the eventual ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs poses the book's central questions. Is the traditional role of humanitarian medicine -- neutral, unarmed, detached - sufficient in the face of looming massacre? And are the similarly evolved views of sovereignty and non-intervention in the international community outdated? If so, how and where does one choose sides, decide to intervene, offer medical care, or seek armed protection?

But the strength of War Hospital ultimately lies in Fink's brilliant structural choice to save the analysis, the conclusions, the politics and policy dilemmas for an epilogue thus allowing the reader to become engrossed with the stories of Drs. Ilijaz Pilav, Eric Dachy, Fatima Dautbasic and a handful of others who serve as the only doctors for the 70,000 or so Bosnian Muslims surrounded in enclaves in eastern Bosnia. From the opening scene where Dr. Ejub Alic, a 32-year old pediatric resident with no surgical training, performs an amputation with a razor cleaned in hydrogen peroxide, you will find yourself caught up in a swift, compelling novelistic reconstruction of events worthy of a future film or television series.
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