The Triumph of Surgery : the Dramatic New Odyssey of Modern Surgical Discovery and Achievement by Jurgen Thorwald ; Translated by Richard and Clara Winston
New York : Pantheon Books, 1960. Hardcover. 454 pages ; Photographs ; 25 cm. $6.50 dust jacket with a few closed tears around the edges. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
The Triumph of Surgery
Here, in an engrossing and brilliant drama that moves from one world capital to another, we see the giants of medical science creating and refining the surgical techniques that are the marvels of our day. In The Century of the Surgeon, Jiirgen Thorwald showed us the generation of surgeons and their wonders that began with the discovery of anesthesia, asepsis, and antisepsis. The Triumph of Surgery begins with the use of local anesthesia, which made it possible to treat cases that had previously been inoperable — tumors of the brain and of the spinal cord, goiters, pulmonary tuberculosis, hernia, diseases of the eye and of the nerves. Through the pages of the story move the vivid figures of the Mayo brothers, of Charcot and Freud; Marion Sims, the American doctor of the Empress Eugenie; Bobbs, who performed the first gall-bladder operation — even a dog and two monkeys play their unrehearsed roles. We learn the intimate details of the tragic story of Kaiser Friedrich III, who lost his life to international professional jealousy —and see the great Scottish surgeon, William Macewen, silence a noisy traveling companion by dislocating his jaw.
In continuing his narrative of the development of surgery, Jiirgen Thorwald again employs his fictitious eyewitness, Dr. Hartmann. Through him we visit the operating rooms of the past and become acquainted with the personalities of the great surgeons present. We participate, as it were, in these exciting surgical advances and marvel at the progress made in the span of one lifetime.
Jiirgen Thorwald was born on October 28, 1916 in the Rhineland. He first studied medicine, but later turned to philology and European history. During World War II he was in the German navy and witnessed the flight of the East Germans in the winter months of 1945. Later editor and journalist, his first two books were the dramatic and authentic narrative of events in East Germany at the end of the war. These books appeared in one volume in English entitled Flight in the Winter. Thorwald's first volume on the history of surgery, The Century of the Surgeon, was an international success.
ACCLAIM FOR The Century of the Surgeon
Prof. Werner Forssmann, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine: "Any truly comprehensive history of medicine has to be partly social history. As such, it addresses itself not to the specialist alone, but above all to the interested layman. Thorwald has solved this by no means easy task in masterly fashion. His soundly and exhaustively researched "Century of the Surgeon" opens up interesting vistas to the specialist. Through its fluent, sparkling presentation, however, it also gives the general reader an introduction to the basic problems. The scientific soundness of this work is attested by the copious and exhaustive list of sources. This is a work of medical history of unusual excellence."
Claude E. Forkner, New York Times Book Review:
"Jiirgen Thorwald takes the reader of his big book straight into the operating room. It is a spellbinding experience."
John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate:
"The author knows his field and has researched his subject thoroughly, as witness his impressive bibliography and the wealth of detail incorporated in the narrative itself.. . fascinating reading."
Richard Blakesley, Chicago Tribune:
"The Century of the Surgeon is a spellbinder. It's an authentic medical history written for the layman."
Los Angeles Examiner:
". . . it injects vivid atmosphere, color, and human equations into the scenes it describes. The reader comes to the end of it as reluctantly as if Thorwald had written an engrossing historical novel."
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