"I realized then that there would be many tough times to deal with when life and death flirt with each other and others can only watch on."

This memoir highlights the colorful life and career of a highly esteemed medical innovator, moving the reader from continent to continent and from an era now gone by to the most modern scientific explorations. Son of a British war veteran mother and an adventurous safari guide, Lawrence-Brown grew up in Kenya in the waning days of Empire. He went on safaris from an early age and often kept wild animals for pets. After boarding school, he failed to qualify for medical school but finally edged in after studying in London. By then, Kenya was in the midst of a revolution, so he immigrated to Australia where he studied, interned, and emerged as a surgeon. Gradually his professional interests and his ceaseless hunt for new discoveries led to the development of the endovascular stent graft, a device used in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. That led to worldwide recognition and a high honor: Officer of the Order of Australia.

Though this is his first foray into writing, Lawrence-Brown has approached it as boldly as his other remarkable endeavors, supplying just enough personal reverie from his almost idyllic childhood to balance the weighty scientific and medical complexities of his adult years. He learned and emotively describes what it’s like to treat people in pain, gravely ill children, and the dying. Along with these frank subjective revelations, he incorporates the history and social challenges in his African boyhood and the frustrating strains between responsible medical caregiving and the convoluted medical industry. On almost every page he opines, sometimes humorously, often sagely, on some aspect of the human condition that he has observed. There is much to be gleaned from this philosophical chronicle such as a doctor’s dilemmas, life in the wild, international divisions, and some sound reasons for hope for all of us.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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