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Thursday, 6 June 2013



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Victor Dubowitz - Ramblings of a Peripatetic Paediatrician

Victor Dubowitz enjoyed a globe-trotting medical career spanning half a century and is internationally known and regarded within the medical fraternity.
Throughout his academic and research career in the muscle field and the neurology of the newborn infant he has retained a passionate love for clinical medicine.
He has written five books on muscle disorders. He has also collaborated with his wife, Lilly in developing a scoring system for assessment of the gestational age in the newborn infant. This became an international standard known as the Dubowitz score. They have also co-authored three books on the newborn.

This is as unconventional a presentation of memoirs as one will encounter, reflecting perfectly the author's own idiosyncratic nature. Victor Dubowitz takes the reader on a thought provoking journey, often tangentially. He tells of a career which moves off in diverse directions, determined as much by chance as a driving spirit to pursue any channel of special interest. It represents one man's story of his environment and his encounters as he moves from a small country town in the Karroo region of South Africa to the professorship of paediatrics at the prestigious Royal Postgraduate Medical School at the Hammersmith Hospital in London.

Victor Dubowitz’s book is fully deserving of a wider distribution, not only to all physicians, but also to the general public
John H.Menkes

Price £20.00 P&P £4.50 UK £6.25 Europe £11.75 ROW

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To read more about Victor Dubowitz visit his Wikipedia page:

John Walker Smith (PAEDIATRICIAN) - Enduring Memories
This is the autobiography of a doctor who has contributed to the development of a new speciality within paediatrics both nationally and internationally. However, it is more than a description of the medical life, the author recounts his childhood in Sydney growing up during the war and the immediate post-war period, the influences and education which led him to his current career path. At the University of Sydney he describes his years as a medical student with a lively account of his experiences, as well as the demanding and long hour she worked as a young doctor, at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children. His experiences make an interesting contrast to the present situation of junior doctors in the NHS. After two years as a research fellow in London, John Walker-Smith returned to Sydney when in 1972 an unexpected opportunity arose to move to St Bartholomew's Hospital, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in London. The author tells how he enthusiastically moved to another country along with his young family and how it was in London that he had to fight his corner for personal and professional recognition of the new speciality of paediatric gastroenterology. He also gives a vivid account of life within the NHS over the period 1973 to 2000. The author also describes his involvement in two major controversies in the 1990's. Firstly his outrage at the proposed closure of Baits and QEHC hospitals, both of which he worked in, and secondly his part in the MMR immunisation and autism controversy, an issue which remains unresolved  Enduring Memories provides unique insights into the complex system of provision of medical care and the development of clinical research in the second half of the twentieth century in both Australia and Great Britain.


Price £9.95 P & P £2.50 UK £3.75 Europe £9.50 ROW

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Dr Jean Watkins (GP) - Lucky Genes
In this confidently written and beautifully illustrated memoir, Dr Jean Watkins shares her colourful family roots, her education in medicine, her career as a GP and much more. In Lucky Genes, Dr Jean Watkins describes her colourful family roots, her education and training in medicine, her career as a GP in London and then Hampshire, her marriage, the joys of children and grandchildren and her passion for travel. With honesty and humour, she reflects upon her share of joy, frustration, disappointment, hard work and dedication and discusses the effect all of this has had on her public and private life. Accompanying the book is a foreword written by Dame Margaret Seward DBE, CBE, who describes the book as a “well researched, thought provoking and entertaining memoir which recounts so many fascinating life changing events”. Indeed, Lucky Genes brings together family history, professional and personal recollections and tales of travel and adventure into a satisfying whole. A rewarding experience for anyone with an interest in genealogy, medicine and travel, it is complemented with carefully selected photographs showing the people and places that have made the author who she is.

I have just completed the first of Jean's books "Lucky Genes". Absolutely brilliant insight into the times, changes and lives of others from a time previous to ours. Gratifying and Inspirational. Please feel free to pass this critique on to Jean on my behalf, as the book is now doing the great northern run.
Review by a local reader

Price £12.95 P & P £2.00 UK £3.30 Europe £6.00 ROW

John Shaw (NEUROSURGEON) - A Fortunate Apprentice

By his own admission, John Shaw took an unusual route into medicine. In A Fortunate Apprentice he tells the story of his childhood in India under The Raj, his education at Dulwich and his early experiences in medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, on to his time in the Royal Air Force in the aftermath of World War II, through to his eventual career in neurosurgery.  As the title suggests, a central theme of this book is luck. When attending a Neurosurgical Congress the author had the good fortune to meet Professor Norman Dott and soon after joined his pioneering team. So began a rewarding career in neurosurgery at the Edinburgh Department of Surgical Neurology, as well as teaching positions at the University of Edinburgh. The author is keen to share his recollections of the many colourful characters and lively situations that shaped his life. Written in a lighter, more irreverent style than many medical memoirs, A Fortunate Apprentice is an accessible account of a career in brain surgery, suitable for the layperson and the doctor alike. It is also a humble reminder of the important parts that coincidence, chance and fortune play in our lives, in addition to hard work and determined studies.

John Shaw has written a most fascinating memoir - interesting on so many different levels
The Clarion

Price £18.50 P&P £2.95 UK £4.00 Eur £9.00 ROW

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Michael Partington - Barts and Beyond - Looking for Gold
In this memoir Michael Partington tells the story of his career in medicine and how it took him from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London to Canada and finally Australia. After training in Medicine at Barts and research at the London Dr Partington left for Canada and a career in Paediatrics and Medical Genetics. In Toronto he was drawn into trying to understand the factors that can stop the human brain from reaching its full potential. There are few more challenging issues in medicine than mental retardation or developmental disability which is a major source of anxiety and distress for individuals, families and society as a whole. His experiences looking at biochemical abnormalities, newborn screening and individual clinical syndromes are all described here. After 27 years in Canada and with a growing interest in the genetic components of brain development Dr Partington was led to Australia to work for a year with Gillian Turner in her pioneering Fragile X Program, later renamed the Genetics of Learning Disability or GOLD service. The author emigrated to Australia in 1989 to set up a Genetics Service in Newcastle, New South Wales.

As a former student, houseman, junior registrar and patient at Barts Dr Partington is proud to be labelled a ‘Barts man’. While his focus remains on his professional life, the author includes aspects of his personal life in the story, pulling memories and thoughts from the journals he haphazardly kept from his teenage years onwards. A varied, honest account of a career that covered three continents and an exploration of medical issues that affect us all, Barts and Beyond Looking for GOLD will intrigue and entertain readers from all backgrounds.

The themes of his life are constant: a love of life, a love of medicine, a willingness to undertake adventure, and attention to detail with a most engaging wit 
 Judith Hall OC, MD of the University of British Colombia

Price £12.95 P&P £2.50 UK £4.50 Eur £7.50 ROW

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Oscar Craig & Alasdair Fraser - Doctors At War
A joint effort from Oscar Craig and Alasdair Fraser, Doctors At War takes the reader on a journey through the conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Letters and editorials from the archives at St Mary's Hospital Medical School are used to give the reader a range of first-hand accounts of war from the perspective of doctors. The result of hard work and diligent research, Doctors at War delivers an intriguing, interesting and sometimes horrifying record of the war experiences of doctors.

A chronological approach is taken, from the end of the 19th century and the Benin expedition of 1897 through both world wars and various conflicts in between, giving a picture of the changing social climate. There are descriptions of the dreadful conditions on battlefields in the late 19th century and letters from civilians during the siege of Ladysmith.

By the time of the Second World War, letter writing was significantly reduced: letters were subject to censorship and the art of letter writing considered no longer important. However, from this period are letters not only from all parts of the globe but also from prisoner-of-war camps including Belsen, the Japanese camps and the devastation of Nagasaki. The compilers of this book have worked diligently to produce an outstanding in-depth account of doctors engaged in duties during wartime.

The dramatic readings of the letters were very moving and the book is fascinating 
Miss Janet Holland, Operational Projects Manager in the Faculty of Medicine

This interesting book is a true piece of medical historical and biographical research
Harold Ellis of the Journal of Medical Biography

Price £20.00 P&P £3.00 UK £5.00 Eur £9.00 ROW

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Professor Peter Richards - The Harvest of a Quiet Eye
The Harvest of a Quiet Eye is a collection of essays, letters and speeches by, and in some cases about, Professor Peter Richards. In it he shares his observations of medicine, university education and life in general in this absorbing book. The Harvest of A Quiet Eye brings together a unique collection of essays, articles, lectures, letters and stories by Professor Peter Richards. His observations of medicine and healthcare and his experience of medical education and practice make for an absorbing book. Full of revealing and dramatic anecdotes, the book starts with the author's early career at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington before covering an array of important healthcare related issues. This book began life as individual essays and articles, previously published in the likes of The Lancet, The Times and the British Medical Journal over several decades. They have been collected and added to, resulting in this varied, thought provoking book. Variety is very much the key to this book's considerable appeal. Key lectures and important views on the NHS are voiced in this proactive book.

Price: £17.50 P&P £2.00 UK £3.00 Eur £4.50 ROW

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Phillip Harris - To Be A Neurosurgeon - A Memoir
This memoir will have great interest for the professional reader, describing the history of Edinburgh Medical School and the advances in Neurosurgery. The personal and professional are interwoven to give us a rare insight into the life of a neurosurgeon. This is a fascinating memoir, well constructed and a pleasure to read. It is no conventional memoir, ranging as it does over subjects as varied as stem cell research, Rembrandt and Mahler. He writes with great warmth when describing family life and interactions with friends and colleagues. Enjoyment of this memoir is not confined to only readers with a professional neurological expertise, but also to other medical people, and also to intelligent lay people. The author has travelled widely in pursuit of excellence, met many of the great figures of his discipline and has fascinating stories to tell, illustrated with very readable background information to assist the lay reader. In short this memoir is a must for anyone interested in the history of the medical school, the development of the field of neurosurgery or anyone who would like to gain an insight into the life and career of a distinguished neurosurgeon.

For those in the medical community who are interested in the history of post-war hospital medicine in the UK, there are some important passages, while the non-medical reader will find the educational passages illuminating.
The Lancet

Price £4.99 P&P £2.50 UK £4.50 Eur £8.00 ROW

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Dr Hywel Davies - Uncle Ebe and Other Stories
Hywel Davies experience of medical practice has been unusual in that he actively sought temporary work, when it was possible, in various urban and rural general practices in the NHS He has worked as consultant physician in general medicine in Scotland, Wales and England, as cardiologist in Alaska, and in Saudi Arabia as chief-of-staff of a hospital. His views about the medical systems, (which do not form part of this book) were gained by working in them. An active interest remains in the mysteries of coronary heart disease, particularly the role of calcium and Vitamin D. He was an early and enduring sceptic about cholesterol, the hole in the ozone layer, man-made global warming, and the other untruths that we are beguiled into believing by those who have an axe to grind.

unique perspectives that will challenge the most entrenched beliefs in medicine, society and goverment
James E. Ehrlich MD, University of Colorado

Price £10.00 P&P £2.50 UK £4.60 Eur £8.20 ROW

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If you would like to read more about this author visit his Wikipedia page:

Richard Godwin-Austen - Seizing Opportunities
Seizing Opportunities – the reminiscences of a physician covers the ancestral background of the Godwin-Austen family, as well as the author’s wartime upbringing, his training and life in Neurology in Nottinghamshire, and dramatic setbacks both personal and professional. He includes a breadth of anecdotes which make very good reading. There is discussion of Medical student selection, and Teaching methods and precepts. He talks about junior doctors hours, violence in Hospitals, and the importance of Residency for junior staff. He defines what is necessary in a Doctor. He comments on declining standards, loss of motivation and morale but makes concrete suggestions how these things can be improved.
There is the light and amusing, the pithy and perceptive, the entertaining and the downright tragic. One of the strengths of this book is the intermingling of personal philosophy with medical anecdotes as well as the chronological account of what happened next.

This story is original, entertaining and stimulating. It spans the first 50 years of the National Health Service and an era of huge medical advances, but sadly declining medical services; and describes how accident and experience have shaped a fascinating life

Price £19.50 P&P £2.50 UK £4.50 Eur £7.50 ROW

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Oscar Craig (RADIOLOGIST) - Medical Memoirs
Beginning with his early career in medicine Dr Craig recounts tales of his time as consultant at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London and his election as President of the Royal College of Radiologists. Following Oscar Craig’s highly successful autobiography A Life in Medicine, this new book features aspects of his varied life and career. Colourful and entertaining characters feature prominently, including students and colleagues at St Mary’s as well as those in radiology. 

Variety is very much the key to the book’s appeal, with holidays, key lectures and views on the National Health Service all given voice. A chapter on retirement is particularly meaningful illustrating the difficulties facing those whose profession is their overriding passion. This is a book by a natural raconteur, with a plethora of humorous vignettes but, above all else, it is clear that the author’s raison d’etre is the practice of medicine.

A profound and eventful story.
Baroness Young of Old Scone

Price £19.95 P&P £3.50 UK £5.50 Eur £9.25 ROW

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Alan Lettin (SURGEON) - Was It Something I Said
This is a fascinating thought provoking account of success courage and achievement. Alan Lettin spent his 1930s boyhood in his parent's corner shop in Leytonstone, East London. He describes the wonderful cast of characters, travelling salesman, customers and neighbours with whom he came into contact. He goes onto describe the impact of World War Two, the blitz V1 "doodlebugs" and the V2 rockets which led to his evacuation on four occasions and fragmented schooling. His account of surgical training half a century ago will be a surprise to many, but undoubtedly led to a successful career. The chapters in which he recounts the changes and events which took place during his association with the organisations with which he was involved are interesting and informative. His career spanned the first fifty years of the NHS and he describes the changes which have taken place as he personally saw them, with characteristic cogency and honesty. Alan Lettin was never reluctant to express his views. Was It Something I Said? recognises that they were not always appreciated. The book is essential reading for all those interested in matters medical and for those who simply enjoy a revealing and frank memoir well told.

The autobiography is laid out in an episodic, sequential manner starting with a fascinating account of his family background, parents' Leytonstone shop, school, the second world war, education and training in surgery.
Jerry Kirk

Fascinating insight into the haphazard nature of surgical training half a century ago
Save Bart's Campaign

Price £17.50 P&P £2.75 UK £3.75 Eur £7.00 ROW

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Colin H M Walker (PAEDIATRICIAN) - I Also Ran
There are not many Biographies of Paediatricians that include first hand experience of the development and early days of Intensive Baby Care. Colin Walker easily blends the personal with the professional to produce a memoir that reflects the whole man, not merely the ambitious professional, the conscientious medical practitioner, the loving husband or the devoted father, but all these things and more. Dr Colin H M Walker describes his family and the exigencies of school and university days in the troubled times of the Second World War. He goes on to relate the challenging path to becoming a consultant paediatrician and the positions he subsequently held at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London and later The Princess Margaret Hospital, Australia, The University of Colorado, USA before returning, by invitation, to work in Scotland.

Price £14.50 P&P £2.80 UK £5.60 Eur £10.00 ROW

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Daniel Haines - A Dangerous Practice
As doctors both Daniel Haines and his wife Hilary wanted to leave the rat race and so applied to work overseas. They worked in the Cayman Islands and Swaziland, ending up in the Falkland Island, along with their three children. Daniel describes the quirks and intricacies of living and practising medicine in such a remote and unusual community as the Falkland Islands. Doing his rounds in an aeroplane, growing his own supply of vegetables and having Marines as neighbours are just some of the highlights. He also goes on to tell of the infrastructure and organisation of the islands. Most poignant are his memories of the Falkland War in 1982 which he witnessed from beginning to end. The devastation and loss of Argentine life; being kept prisoner under armed guard along with his wife, children and other civilians; and their attempts to reduce danger to inhabitants during the anticipated British retaking of the Islands are all described in vivid detail. A superbly written book which takes the reader on a varied and absorbing journey. ‘A Dangerous Practice’ it was but Daniel Haines and his family emerge strengthened by the experience'.

I have to say I found this unique book an excellent read. It would make an excellent gift to anyone in, or outside, the often enigmatic forensic community!
Robin Moffat

Price £19.50 P&P £2.50 UK £3.50 Eur £7.00 ROW

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Professor Sir Thomas Symington - A Chance to Remember 
A Chance to Remember chronicles a prestigious career in medicine mainly concerning the very specialist field of adrenal gland research. The author highlights the funding and financial complications involved in research, as well as the joy of discovery and the sharing of knowledge, in his own inimitable style. The book details Sir Tom's work when Professor of Pathology at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, his work in research centres all over the world and how this led to various lecture posts including visiting Professor of Pathology at Stanford University USA in 1965 and the Joseph Aub visiting lecturer at Harvard Medical School in 1969. As well as his invitation to speak at most universities in Britain and Europe to discuss his pioneering research. In 1969 he was a member of an external review group for the Institute of Cancer Research in London to determine their funding requirements, following which he was appointed Director of the Institute, a post he held for seven years. He describes the struggles, triumphs and ultimate success of the institute, to which he contributed a great deal. Not only does he recount his own career but Sir Thomas also conveys his sometimes controversial views on the National Health Service as he has witnessed much of its development from its inception to the present day and has some shrewd observations regarding its future. His family also feature strongly in these memoirs as their influence and support has been constant throughout the years.

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Michael R Lee - Stood On The Shoulders Of Giants
'Stood on the Shoulders of Giants' chronicles as extraordinary journey from the back streets of Manchester to the spires of Oxford and eventually to Edinburgh. The author describes his upbringing in a working class environment in Manchester and how, from an early age, he was plagued by injury and illness. This ill health sparked his early fascination with medicine and disease. He tells how his childhood dreams were realised when he was able to pursue these interests by studying at Oxford University. His career on academic medicine is described as a roller coaster ride, punctuated with success and failure, highs and lows, both personal and professional. Along the way he encounters a number of 'giants' in their fields, particularly Professor Archie Cochrane, Sir Douglas Black and Sir George Pickering. He relates how each of these men had a profound effect upon the development of his career before he eventually established himself as an independent clinical scientist and subsequently received a Professorship at the University of Edinburgh. This account is not merely one man's reflection on his career in medicine but is the story of his journey through life as a whole. The book also contains some trenchant criticisms of the organisation of the medical profession in the second half of the twentieth century.

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