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Word Count: 418
This is the book that every neurosurgeon would like to have written his or her version of but probably hadnt the time It is the account of a neurosurgeons training from medical school to the end of residency in this case in an American training programme in the 1970s and 80s Although aimed at the public rather than at neurosurgeons I could not put it down Of course I am biased I am probably much the same age as the author and shared many of his experiences or at least the British version of them I recognise the same pressures on junior staff the same developments in our specialty and the same types of character and I could tell as many tales He even worked for a spell at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and though they are disguised I certainly recognised several of the doctors described In his excellent preface the author sets out the raison dtre for the bookto desanctify neurosurgeons and to expose the random nature of their selection and the dehumanising aspect of neurosurgical training which produces a standardised product That he fails in some of these objectives is not really a criticism His bosses and colleagues as all surgeons were not standardised but shared some common characteristics Despite the training process he seems not to have been dehumanised for he writes about neurosurgical tragedies with sensitivity even if he suggests that some of his friends were The random selection does not seem to have been too bad a thing either I am sure it leads to a more interesting group of trainees For the author and for me as well training was a wonderful time learning from a bunch of real characters who central casting could not have dreamed up It was extremely tiring in those far off days of rotas of one in two and worse but always exciting and totally involving Only after training the anguish
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