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Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery

Henry Marsh

6 Reviews

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Biography: science, technology & medicine, Autobiography: science, technology & medicine, Prose: non-fiction, Doctor/patient relationship, Popular medicine & health

The SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING, award-winning and candid insight into the life and work of a modern neurosurgeon - its triumphs and disasters.

'An astonishing glimpse into this stressful career' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

'Enthralling' GUARDIAN

'Incredibly absorbing ... astonishingly candid' Bill Bryson

Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award; Duff Cooper Prize; Wellcome Book Prize; Guardian First Book Award; and Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize

Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong?

DO NO HARM offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. With astonishing candour and compassion, Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy modern hospital, and above all the need for hope when faced with life's most agonising decisions.

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Praise for Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery

  • DO NO HARM is an elegant series of meditations ... At heart, this is a book about wisdom and experience


  • An enthralling read ... a testimony of wonder ... Marsh's style is admirably clear, concise and precise ... There is no forcing of a narrative arc or a happy ending, just the quotidian frustrations, sorrows, regrets and successes of neurosurgical life - GUARDIAN

  • A searingly frank book which tells the story of a danger-fraught occupation the way it is. Every chapter is a tightrope walk ... Has you on the edge of your seat ... Even more fascinating is his candour about his own feelings ... Henry Marsh's patients are living, individual people - he makes us feel we know them


  • By and large, [DO NO HARM] contains stories not of triumph, or of the author's skill and expertise, but of the emotional and psychological toll exacted when things go horribly wrong ... His understanding of the nature of suffering is deep and personal - NEW STATESMAN

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Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh was one of Britain's foremost brain surgeons, and worked as Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St George's Hospital in London for thirty years. Since retiring from full-time work in the NHS, he has continued to operate and lecture abroad, in Nepal, Albania and Ukraine. He has been the subject of two award-winning documentary films, YOUR LIFE IN THEIR HANDS and THE ENGLISH SURGEON. He is the author of two memoirs, the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling DO NO HARM and ADMISSIONS. He was made a CBE in 2010.

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