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Humour outweighs dignity in this autobiography by a leading Australian surgeon foundation Professor of Surgery at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney and past President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. It covers eighty years from childhood in different Australian country towns through the development of a surgical career with as many disappointments as triumphs. The ignoble sport of boxing in which he engaged in boyhood and at university leads him to describe the struggles in his surgical life 'from inside the ropes'. He lived through a huge leap of surgical history after World War II most of the operations performed today being invented in that time. He was embroiled in the controversial beginnings of Sydney's second medical school and served in South Vietnam as leader of a civilian surgical team. The poignant dramas of surgical illnesses are described with passion and humour in stories of exceptional individuals - patients administrators and surgical mentors - who inspired his life as a leading surgeon and teacher. All these strands are engagingly intermingled with stories of remarkable people whose struggles played a transforming part in the author's life. Books written by doctors are mostly intended for reading by other doctors but this intimate biography by an octogenarian surgeon is for everyone.

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