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The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Healing Power of Hope 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1585426157
ISBN-10: 1585426156
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hamilton has led a remarkable life as a neurosurgeon. There are moments in this spiritual memoir when readers will wish he were their personal guide for the scariest of surgeries. In many ways, this is a story about real doctors as Hamilton understands them—people with exemplary bedside manners who not only make life-and-death decisions for the most vulnerable of the sick, but who have the vision (sometimes literally) to sit and listen as long as it takes, to take patients' hands, dealing with their questions and fears with the utmost gentleness and an eye toward the transcendent and supernatural. Readers will be moved by stories of former patients like Thomas, a child burn victim with such a gift of spirit that he could manage joy despite his tragic condition, and Donald, a brave man determined to live life to the fullest despite a vicious brain tumor. Hamilton's voice soars when he reflects directly on his experience as a brain surgeon, the bulk of which occurs (unfortunately) in the book's second half. In light of these high points, Hamilton's occasionally stumbling and awkward prose when straying from his patients' sides can seem jarring. (Mar. 13)
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"Funny, irreverent, earthy, big-hearted, honest, real."
-Family Circle online "Books of the Month" Review

"Allan Hamilton is a natural storyteller. His real-life experiences remind us that patients and surgeons can share in a spiritual transformation during the course of battling disease."
-Linda Klein, R.N., producer of Grey's Anatomy and Nip/Tuck

"His observations and insights push the limits of current scientific knowledge as he attempts to bring some rational thought to the unexplainable."
-Richard Carmona, M.D., MPH, FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States

"A moving account of what can happen when a doctor opens his heart and his eyes to life's spiritual lessons and to the mystery that thrives amidst the terror and trauma of life-threatening illness."
-Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Help Me to Heal and Prescriptions for Living --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; 1 edition (March 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585426156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585426157
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On February 13, 2003 I had brain tumor surgery that was supposed to take four hours. The surgery lasted five hours... then six hours... then seven hours... then eight ½ hours. Unbeknownst to me, when they removed the tumor, underneath it was a "stump", that had not appeared in any of the pre-surgery MRI's, and when the Doctor started to remove it; there was severe bleeding in my brain. All of this of course was unknown to me. Not just during the surgery, but after I was blessed by the Lord and allowed to survive and eventually go home, I was not told by my twenty-three-year-old son Justin for a couple of weeks. Even if he would have told me during the first week, I wouldn't have been able to comprehend what he was telling me. I didn't know what a bagel was, despite having two bagels and cream cheese for lunch every single day of my life for the last ten years. I didn't know what Jello was. During the first week at home while Justin was helping me dress and undress, I wanted to thank him from the bottom of my heart for the loving care he was giving me. On my dresser in my bedroom I had always kept a Thank You Card my son had given me when he graduated high school five years earlier. In it he had said: "Dad, I wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for everything. You have always stuck by me on any decision I made, right or WRONG. I don't know where I would be without you; on this bumpy road I call life. Thanks for always being there for me!" "I LOVE YOU! JUSTIN". With every fiber in my body and soul, I was trying to point to the card on the dresser and tell him now; I want to thank you... but I couldn't remember what a dresser was!

Before the surgery I told Justin I wasn't afraid to die, as long as I could say goodbye.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, quite literally, is amazing. Hamilton is a Dr. that you wish was your own, someone who deeply cares about not only healing you physically, but emotionally as well. It becomes apparent early on that Hamilton takes healing very seriously and has ideas in store for the reader that prepare the mind for dealing with the realm of the unknown that is medical care. This book is an ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY read for anyone who is battling cancer, or any loved ones. Some of the stories contain within the pages of "The Scalpel and the Soul" are going to move you to tears, undoubtedly. Yet, you will finish the book feeling spiritually cleansed in a way. It's hard to explain, but this book really is astoundingly good and one that certainly should find it's way into your checkout cart immediately.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A five-star rating is not enough for this book, but the system will not allow more.

A 2005 survey of physicians found that 76 percent believe in God and 59 percent believe in an afterlife. Those numbers were quite surprising to me, as I would have expected them to be much less. They are also a little confusing in suggesting that some physicians believe in God without an afterlife. Whatever the numbers, few doctors have the courage to go public with their views. It is simply not the "intelligent" and scientific thing to do. That is definitely not the case with Dr. Allan J. Hamilton, the author of this book. "The truth is that I pity the physician who cannot envision medical science as an integral part of God's creation," he offers. "I worry about a doctor who cannot see healing as an extension of God's love. Religious faith does not threaten scientific integrity..."

Hamilton discusses such phenomena as near-death experiences, death-bed visions, and shamanistic healing. But not all the chapters deal with paranormal phenomena. Some are intriguing stories of faith, hope, and charity recorded by Hamilton during his illustrious career as a neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors. It was a career that had him tending to patients in the jungles of Africa and the snow caps of Alaska before settling down in the dry flatlands of Arizona.

The concluding chapter should give the skeptic much to ponder. It is about a woman who was "dead" by every clinical criterion used in medicine - her was heart stopped and brain waves disappeared. Yet, she later related conversations that went on among the operating room personnel while she was clinically dead.
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Format: Hardcover
Not being an avid reader or in the medical field, I could not put this book down. The Scalpel and the Soul is inspiring and intriguing. I felt like I was in the room with each patient, I shared smiles and tears with every chapter. This is a must read for one and all. Dr. Allan Hamilton is truly a phenomenal author and individual. Overall, when you finish the book, the only word that comes to mind is MARVELOUS!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Quite simply, this is a fantastic read. Like any good book, Scalpel and the Soul takes you on a journey; a journey that masterfully weaves the yin of modern medicine with the yang of spirituality.

Dr. Hamilton's ability to make his stories come alive via superb prose is without doubt the high point of Scalpel. I am very much a layman when it comes to all things medicine, but I couldn't help but think I was at his side during the most dramatic, inspiring, and heart-wrenching moments of his life and career.

This is as good a page-turner as I've come across lately. I'd submit that Scalpel ought to be required reading for all who've stood above operating tables, all who've laid upon them, and anyone in search of a powerful spiritual journey.
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