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A Life in Brain Surgery
Narrated by: Henry Marsh
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)
Non-member price: $31.21
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Publisher's Summary

Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical front line. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what 40 years spent handling the human brain has taught him.

Moving between encounters with patients in his London hospital to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, Henry faces up to the overwhelming burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering. Unearthing memories of his early days as a medical student and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, he explores the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties, and where the consequences of your decisions alter the lives not just of patients but also of those around them. The overpowering human urge to prolong life can often come at a great cost to those who are living it and to those who love them.

In this searing, provocative and deeply personal memoir, the best-selling author of Do No Harm finds new purpose in his own life as he approaches the end of his professional career and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.

Written and narrated by Dr. Henry Marsh.

©2017 Henry Marsh (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully read, refreshingly honest, touchingly humane and always engaging.

Mr Marsh is clearly an extraordinary polymath with his hands, his mind and his heart. I love the way his story telling ranges from one continent to another, from culture to culture, patient to patient, agonising outcomes to miraculous cures, touching generosity to excoriating cringe-fests of past indiscretions and vanities.

It is his humanity, laid bare in heartwarming and surprising juxtaposition to his laudable achievements that makes his story so compelling.

Set next to his humanity is the joy of his insatiable curiosity and lust to create with his hands.... slashing weeds, sharpening the blade of a plane, lifting a steel beam into place with fewer tools than the Egyptians probably had at their disposal, or, planting a forest and building new windows. To feel the enthusiasm in his voice is a delight.

Oh, and I love his fulminating outbursts against The Managers and the regressive left. Love it!

Then, of course, are the all too serious existential issues that he discourses on.... something close to my heart given the instances I've twice been faced with regarding "switching off the machine". Thank you Mr Marsh for your candour and forthrightness.

I only have one beef..... I wish Mr Marsh had read his other book as well (Do No Harm).

Cheers,
Paul

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Uncomfortably Relatable

a refreshingly honest, deeply sad account to relate to, inevitable, insurmountable, difficulties of capitalism in healthcare

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a nice memoir. honest but all over the place.

an interesting memoir. well told, homest and insightful, but at parts sounded like a lonely man trying to avoid dementia

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-07-2017

Fantastic book, well read, honest insightful

Fantastic book, well read, honest, and insightful account of his career and how it impacted on his personal life. Would absolutely recommend.