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War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line Kindle Edition
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For more than twenty-five years, surgeon David Nott has volunteered in some of the world’s most perilous conflict zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major metropolitan hospital. He is now widely acknowledged as the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world.
War Doctor is his extraordinary story, encompassing his surgeries in nearly every major conflict zone since the end of the Cold War, as well as his struggles to return to a “normal” life and routine after each trip. Culminating in his recent trips to war-torn Syria—and the untold story of his efforts to help secure a humanitarian corridor out of besieged Aleppo to evacuate some 50,000 people—War Doctor is a heart-stopping and moving blend of medical memoir, personal journey, and nonfiction thriller that provides unforgettable, at times raw, insight into the human toll of war.
“Superb . . . You are constantly amazed that men such as Nott can witness the extraordinary cruelties of the human race, so many and so foul, yet keep going.” —Sunday Times
“Gripping and fascinating medical stories.” —Kirkus Reviews
- So powerful and honest. Extraordinary. Elizabeth Buchan, author of The New Mrs Clifton and I Can't Begin to Tell You
- One of the most brutally vivid evocations of modern warfare that you will read . . . superb, unforgettable, simply written and painfully clear . . . You are constantly amazed that men such as Nott can witness the extraordinary cruelties of the human race, so many and so foul, yet keep going. Be warned: this is a powerful but often traumatic read. Sunday Times
A triumph: a love letter to surgery, and to helping others in extremis. Reading it is much like being taken apart and put together again in a fascinating way. It reveals a fascinating man whose life is a lesson in what good you can do with privilege . . . I spent the entire time wishing that David Nott would become our prime minister . . . This book is neither tidy, nor easy, yet it is so important. War Doctor is a reminder that we are all in this together, and that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. - Christie Watson, Daily Telegraph
- Riveting . . . Nott is no ordinary doctor, as this dramatic telling of his extraordinary life makes clear. Ian Birrell, The Times
- As a surgeon myself, I can only look on what he has achieved with complete awe, overwhelmed by his heroism and compassion as much as by the world's cruelty. Henry March, author of Do No Harm, New Statesman
- His stories of courage and compassion in the face of seemingly certain death are breathtaking . . . If a film about his life isn't already in development, someone's missing a trick. Fiona Sturges, The Guardian
- A devastating account of two decades volunteering his services to some of the world's most dangerous places. Helen Brown, Daily Mail
- A stand out memoir by a vascular surgeon in the NHS who volunteered for more than twenty years in war zones. Daily Record
- Extraordinary. - Independent--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B07WWGLY7Z
- Publisher : ABRAMS Press (March 3, 2020)
- Publication date : March 3, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 2288 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 304 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1419744240
- Best Sellers Rank: #172,013 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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He is so humble that when I first started reading, I wondered if it would be an interesting read at all. It’s a slow build up, and then you cannot put the book down. Nott describes the difference in working with a large NGO like Doctors Without Borders, why he branched out to found his own organization. Not everyone can work for the big NGOs. He brings us into the surgical rooms in crumbling hospitals that are besieged by bombs; we see the victims enter, suffer, get healed or die; the pressure on the medical teams and the sacrifices they make, and the effect that years of conflict zones have on the psyche.
I’ve been to 35 developing countries for medical humanitarian work and into some dicey places but nothing like this. David Nott deserves maximum respect. He epitomizes the famous saying found in the Talmud and Koran, which he quotes twice in his book: He who saves a life, saves the world. It’s one of my favorite sayings, and the name of the nonprofit I founded, Save One Life. We need more David Notts in this world, and the world is at least blessed to have this extraordinary human being.
Nott and his colleagues saved a lot of lives. Where he could have been self-aggrandizing, he seems relatively humble. I won't summarize the plot or add to comments in previous reviews except to say that this is a great read for anyone interested in international relief effort and medicine.
War Doctor is a very human account of a remarkable man's experiences working in many of the war zones featuring in our news headlines, from Sarajevo to Syria.
The style of writing is non-sensationalised and extremely easy to read. Nott seems to have struck the perfect balance for this book to appeal to both medically-inclined people and those who don't want too much anatomical or gory detail. He is neither preachy nor boastful about his efforts to transfer skills to others, and he doesn't shy away from admitting how scared he becomes when his life is in danger.
Nott is a modern-day hero whose story deserves to be read. I highly recommend it.
Top reviews from other countries
The author is candid about his own involvement in various theatres of war and medicine without boasting. He is modest without adopting false modesty. The plight of various patients, especially children, is his prime concern, but we get a clear insight into his own psychological trauma's course and causes. His political and diplomatic skills, deployed with colleagues and bureaucrats, are an essential part of his story and are recorded here modestly and prosaicly. His respect and admiration for his fellow war-arena doctors is unbounded and sincere.
David Nott treats the subject with the seriousness it deserves; but there is one brief moment of levity when he returns to normal UK clinic life straight after the hell of Aleppo and is consulted by a patient with relatively trivial vascular problems. His cover up of his response to the patient lightens the mood briefly.
I can't find a fault with this. Moving, informative and intimate. Prime candidate for biography of the year.
I have met surgeons in training at my workplace and I have found them to be characterised by great skill and confidence. They share, in common with other elites, a sense that they can acquire, through hard work and refined practice, a mastery of their field. They have that special 'something'. It shows quite early. I have seen a 19 yr old woman student at a London teaching hospital prepare for her class on a cadaver in the dissection room with such thoroughness and commitment that staff backed away and let her teach her small group of classmates on her own. We knew that she would become a surgeon. She is.
David Nott is driven by that same commitment to use his knowledge for a higher purpose. Near the end of the book he describes the case of a young woman commuter with grave injuries who became his surgical patient shortly after he qualified as a consultant at Charing Cross. His commitment to saving her was astounding, he decided that "she would not die on my watch". After a long operation he visited her each few hours throughout the next day to change the gauze packings around her wounds.
Dr. Nott goes on to take a route that most of us would be careful to avoid, by visiting war zones to offer his help to the injured and brutalised in the most dangerous places imaginable. Like the neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Marsh, who wrote 'Do No Harm', he knows his limitations and is always seeking to broaden his repertoire of skills to make himself more useful to others. His description of an operation to help a contract worker in Afghanistan, who was shot in the abdomen by a sniper's high velocity round, is awe-inspiring.
Dr. Nott is justly angry at the western superpowers for washing their hands of responsibility for awful suffering caused in part by their callous indifference to wars that no longer interest them.
This remarkable doctor has dedicated his life to helping patients with the most serious wounds in war zones as diverse as the Congo, Libya, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Syria.
This is essential life-affirming reading.
I have worked as a junior doctor for David Nott a long time ago.
His book is an accurate portrayal of the man and his work. I've worked with hundreds of surgeons in my time and he stands head and shoulders above everyone. He is genuinely the most technically proficient surgeon I've ever met (he once demonstrated to me how to do an appendicectomy which he did beautifully; it took him 7 minutes!) However it is more his kindness and gentle manner which left the deepest impression and has been my most memorable inspiration.
The book is well written, honest, shocking and so moving. A fabulous biography by my hero.
But, and it is a small but, I'm not sure that the book works so well. About two-thirds of the way through, I started to reflect on what makes a great surgeon in crisis situations (I guess the same question could be applied to the press). David Nott is amazingly candid and self-revealing. But I got distracted from the narrative and kept wondering why he was behaving the way he did. For example, towards the end, after having had a nervous breakdown and a baby girl, he feels compelled to rush off to Nepal to help in the earthquake. A noble job but one that could have been done by hundreds of surgeons. The book gives some insights into the "why" but I would have appreciated a deeper reflection.
So I found the ending unsatisfying. Too much on his role in helping the Syrian doctors escape from Aleppo and too little conclusion. To the extent that I started to wonder what the point of the book was. Cathasis? Surely. Awareness-Building of the horrors of war, absolutely. Fundraising? Obviously. but more than that?
It is an easy read in a reading sense but a tough read for content. Gripping nonetheless.
I have a feeling that David Nott may be the one living person in our country laudible above all others - above any politician, lawyer, footballer, comedian, celebrity etc. I realise that associated with any one person (especially a surgeon) is a whole host of supporting actors, but as a role model he must far outstrip any other figure in the public eye.
I would like to think this book will be studied in schools across the globe. This is recent world history we should be studying as much as any other conflict, upheaval or disater.
Where I live we are cosseted, self absorbed and distant from the world. I feel a sense of shame that our politicians garner our votes and we protect our cosy safe lives at the expense of the environment and other fellow human beings.
I find it increasingly hard maintain the act when my patients come to me with their piffling problems that loom so large to them. This book makes it even harder. I seriously wonder how David Nott manages to keep seeing outpatients.