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Helicopter evacuations, teaching West Bank Arab nursing students, life and death medical decisions, aging Holocaust survivors, heart-breaking ethical decisions -- Brooklyn Beginnings immerses the reader in the life stories of Dr. Michael Gordon who helped forge contemporary Geriatrics in his adopted Canada. His Brighton Beach childhood, his initially quiescent Jewish roots, and a unique Lithuanian and Scottish interface profoundly inspired Gordon's personal and professional journey. From his early wanderings ...
Helicopter evacuations, teaching West Bank Arab nursing students, life and death medical decisions, aging Holocaust survivors, heart-breaking ethical decisions -- Brooklyn Beginnings immerses the reader in the life stories of Dr. Michael Gordon who helped forge contemporary Geriatrics in his adopted Canada. His Brighton Beach childhood, his initially quiescent Jewish roots, and a unique Lithuanian and Scottish interface profoundly inspired Gordon's personal and professional journey. From his early wanderings through Europe to his Scottish medical education, through Eastern European travels and his Israeli immigration, with its associated military service and Holocaust survivor exposure, Gordon's arrival in Canada was a culmination of his personal challenges.
He drew on his life experiences to help his patients, their families and medical trainees for more than thirty years. Among the life-altering experiences in this personal reflection are: experiencing Israel's Six Day War from within an Arab country; confronting the U.S. Selective Service and the Vietnam War; being a physician in the Israeli Air Force; engaging in clinical and educational activities within the Arab world; and fulfilling a seminal professional and educational role as a geriatrician and ethicist. The complex human condition is engagingly and warmly presented against the profound challenges of health and disease.
Posted November 19, 2009
Brooklyn Beginnings was such a pleasure to read! The author's photos that appear on the cover hint at the very personal memoir that follows. Anyone who has worked with Michael can't help but be infected by his obvious love of life and medicine, but this memoir leads the reader through a journey in which the full man and physician is revealed. The honesty and joy with which he writes shines from the pages, and the varied life stories which take the reader around the world are stories well worth telling. This memoir is a must-read for anyone who knows Michael, and for those who do not, it provide a deep look inside the life and the heart of a physician who truly enjoys this life's calling.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Michael Gordon shares his head, heart and soul in a most engaging, candid manner. The life road he travels really is captivating, thought provoking, joyous, and challenging, revealing a complex man who is not only obviously a great storyteller but one whose insights and values are well worth exploring.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2009
_Brooklyn Beginnings: A Geriatrician's Odyssey_ is a fiery, frank, and often funny account of Dr Michael Gordon's development: not just as a pioneering physician and medical ethicist, but as a husband, father and, throughout his life, the child of aging parents himself. With its distinct and accessible narrative voice, this compelling memoir affirms that "professionalism" in medicine need not be divorced from the domain of the "personal." From acing medical vivas in Scotland, to eluding border guards in Bulgaria, to advocating on behalf of his elderly patients, Dr Gordon's perennial charm reminds readers just how much personality and, to some extent, luck, can powerfully influence the directions taken in one's life. Yet his accounts of personal disappointments, professional quandaries, and those agonizing episodes in life that defy all supposed qualifications, are also written with remarkable candour and honesty. The overall effect of Dr Gordon's style and story is impressive - on one hand, we learn about an extraordinary life; yet this is a personal odyssey rich in moments that will resonate genuinely with the reader's own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The last time I saw Michael Gordon was 42 years ago. I'm sure I hadn't ever spoken with him more than five times previously. But I recall him as a young man (as I was then too) of intelligence and kindness and with a great sense of the adventure of life. So I am not surprised at the quality of this memoir nor at the personal and professional experiences it describes.
There are so many riveting stories, such as that of terminal cancer patient Ian MacGillivray, whose wife's tearful request led Dr. Gordon, just out of medical school, to permit MacGillivray to leave his Aberdeen, Scotland hospital bed to go back to his farm for a final weekend with his beloved dog Misty, who was refusing to eat in his absence. The dog didn't leave his side for the entire two days. Back at the hospital, MacGillivray took Dr. Gordon's hands in his and thanked him. A few days later, surrounded by family, he passed away. Equally unforgetable is the story of Chaim, an elderly Israeli who had come to Toronto for intricate surgery in an attempt to regain his long-lost sight. Dr. Gordon assisted an opthamologist in the procedure. Who will forget Chaim's ecstatic shouts of joy as he phoned his wife in Israel, "I can see, I can see!"
Lots of othe stories. Funny ones. Amorous ones (some of which are also pretty funny). Gut-wrenching ones like the medical evacuation of two wounded Israeli soldiers from a Lebanese battlefield. Stories of lives saved and of lives lost despite valiant efforts. And stories of the kinds of difficult ethical decisions that doctors (and sometimes families) are called upon to make.
Posted August 9, 2009
As Timone, the meerkat in The Lion King, so famously said: "Ya think ya know a guy!" People who know Dr. Michael Gordon will be amazed at how much they never knew about this engaging and dynamic physician. People who don't know him will be impressed by the richness of his life, from humble beginnings to one of the Canadian pioneers of Geriatrics as a medical specialty.
How did a young boy growing up in wartime Brooklyn become an astute and compassionate clinician, gifted teacher and professor, compelling speaker and author, media personality and inspiring mentor to countless doctors and nurses? Part coming-of-age story, part adventure saga, part travel adventure, Dr. Gordon shares his lifelong journey with uncommon candor, insight, warmth and humor. Michael has lived many lives in his one life. In this wonderful memoir, he relates the multitude of events that have shaped his life and propelled him to make such profound contributions to Medicine, Geriatrics and Medical Ethics. The wisdom of his experience and empathy shines through in every chapter.
David D. Posen, MD, author of "The Little Book of Stress Relief"
Posted July 29, 2009
The author shares with the reader a journey of a life well-spent. From humble beginnings Dr. Gordon lived and continues to live the life given to him to the fullest extent. This memoir describes his passions for travel, food, music, and most of all, people and in particular, the elderly. His tales of favourite events in school, medical training, and worklife are humourous and touching. There are lessons in this book for those with aging parents and for those who are aging themselves. His perspective as a geriatrician and as a son offer unique insights.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 25, 2009
Dr. Gordon's book has incredible inventiveness and amazing illustrations of events that makes it unique. It is a very emotionally powerful book, very well written and does a great job of depicting the time periods and events on which the stories are based. It contains a fascinating and truly thought-provoking analysis of human events and situations especially those that are personal to the author. Brooklyn Beginnings does a marvellous job of foreshadowing. It is never blatantly obvious what is to come as the book unfolds - it is subtle and requires a good mind to catch on. When you just simply read it you may think it is just a memoir of events, but when you read between the lines you can find very important meanings and metaphors that make this book the classic work of writing that I think it is.
It will appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences with its rather graphic depictions of personal and emotional and physical interactions and historical events and settings. It is a highly enjoyable read. Awesome work!
Posted June 29, 2009
If the first sentence in this delightful tale doesn't grab your attention, you'd better check your pulse, or call 911 because you might not be breathing for long! Or you could call Dr. Michael Gordon, author of this wonderfully engaging and well-written memoir. He details his humble beginnings as a young Jewish boy growing up in New York through his training as a physician in, of all places Dundee Scotland, his active duty as an officer in the Israeli Air Force during the pivotal 1971 War of Attrition, to his leadership in the recognition of a new specialty in Medicine in Canada; Geriatrics. It is clear that he loves life and lives life to the fullest. He also shows his love for medicine and his patients.
It is a refreshing read, and so satisfying to realize that someone so accomplished is also so adventurous and engaging. If I could give this 6 stars I would, but the highest is 5!
Posted October 10, 2009
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