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on 10 April 2017
This is an amazing book , filled with heart wrenching episodes and fantastic results of life saving surgery. Many poor results are explained and you see that surgeons are human and have to live with the consequences of their actions good or bad . Enthralling for one who carries out much simpler operations on animals . Thoroughly enjoyable !
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on 24 March 2017
Fascinating! I am a retired GP & always had an interest in Brain anatomy & function, but it is so difficult & complex. I could not do his job & admire his guts!
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on 8 April 2017
Gripping, sobering, frightening and just occasionally laugh-out-loud amusing. Just as we can't avoid death, you should not avoid reading this.
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on 20 June 2017
I was first aware of this book when I saw a friend mark it as read at the end of last year. The title stuck with me, having had neurosurgery myself only a few months before, and it came up on a 99p Kindle deal recently so snapped it up.

This is a fascinating look into neurosurgery and life as a neurosurgeon, written by such a surgeon at the end of his career. As often seems to be the case with life's strange coincidences Marsh's son suffered from a brain tumour as a little boy, his wife developed epilepsy late in life, and he himself has had a few surgeries (although nothing related to the brain specifically) so his stories are not only from the surgeon's viewpoint, but also from that of the patient and the frightened family member.

We all on some level know that doctors are only human and all surgery comes with some level of risk, but it was refreshing to really hear that from the surgeon's experience. One of the biggest surprises for me was the observation that most surgeons can cope relatively well with patients who are beyond saving, the certainty that surgery won't help and the patient will definitely die being easy to come to terms with. It's the cases where you can't be sure whether operating will help or not that are the most difficult. It makes sense when you think about it, uncertainty is always the hardest thing to cope with, but I'd never thought about it that way before.

Also fascinating was learning all about different types of brain tumours and other afflictions. Having never known anyone closely with a brain tumour, it was an education to learn how many types there are and how they differ in terms of symptoms, surgery and other treatments.

Overall the memoir felt honest and it was definitely quite humble which is not the stereotypical depiction of a surgeon who we are often led to believe have something of a God-complex! As a surgeon who worked in the NHS and some private practice for several decades it was interesting to see how things had changed, both in surgery and in the wider world of secondary care. Unfortunately it did lead to quite a few chapters including a lamentation on lack of beds, but that's a sad truth of the NHS these days and so probably hard to avoid.

Definitely a great read for pretty much anyone, unless you are squeamish at detailed descriptions of surgery!
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on 15 May 2017
An absolutely fascinating book. Very interesting , written by a Neurosurgeon, about the types of operation he's performed in his working life, the ones which went well and not so well. I learnt alot from this book too.
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on 6 May 2017
As a doctor myself of the same vintage this is an excellent account of a high quality medical career. It is fully atmospheric exploring many sides of this changing branch of medicine. So very human,showing what has been lost in self sacrifice ethos of the past.
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on 30 April 2017
This book is very informative and very well written for the layperson. It strikes a fine balance between the serious subject of neurosurgery and the lighter, human, aspects of Henry's work. It also offers some insight into the dynamics of hospital operation in the NHS. This wasn't an easy book to put down.
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on 12 June 2017
Fascinating memoir, if slightly disturbing, as Mr. Marsh is totally honest about his many failures, and failure for him incurs not just death but disastrous paralysis or even many years of vegetative state. With such a heavy burden to bear for the silghtest slip of only millimetres, I am amazed that anyone would want to do the job. His humour and sadness are clear.
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on 6 June 2017
Fascinating insight into the technical side and emotional side of a brain surgeon - Henry Marsh is not afraid to discuss the incredibly difficult life/death decisions he had to make. Would have appreciated some diagrams of the brain when operations are being explained, although this may be difficult to achieve in a kindle version.
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on 13 March 2017
White knuckle reading. Incredible stuff. At times I could barely turn the page to see whether the operation had been successful.
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