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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David L. Nahrwold, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a large "cocktail table" book of photographs juxtaposed with quotations. Physicians, nurses, and other caregivers are depicted in black-and-white photographs as they perform their hospital duties. Each photo is matched with a quotation, pertinent to the activity, from the writings of the great physician, William Osler. The reader is introduced to Osler by a 47-page biography by the Canadian academic physician John Waugh.
Purpose: The author/photographer began photographing hospital activity after a neurosurgical procedure for trigeminal neuralgia and the publisher suggested that he turn them into a book. A surgeon suggested the Oslerian theme.
Audience: The work confirms author's excellence as an artist with the camera. Laypersons and medical professionals will admire the sensitivity with which he captures the feelings of his subjects, especially the women, whose faces are covered by surgical masks, leaving him only the eyes with which to convey his message. Action, sometimes fast and furious, is shown in many of the photographs.
Features: The stock is high quality, but some of the photographs are too dark. Unfortunately, the juxtaposition of Osler's quotations with the photos often seems contrived. Indeed, quotations from the turn of the century are sometimes only applicalbe to that time. Osler could not have imagined some of the activity shown and the matches are occasionally inappropriate.
Assessment: Osler's biography is interesting, as are Grant's photographs. Commingling the two did not leverage the result. In fact, Osler's quotations detract from Grant's work. This is a book for a young person interested in medicine. Professionals and the mature general public will yawn.