Doctors at war - Mark de Rond



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Doctors at war - life and death in a field hospital
Mark de Rond
ILR Press
UK Publication Date

Doctors at War is a candid account of a trauma surgical team based, for a tour of duty, at a field hospital in Helmand, Afghanistan. Mark de Rond tells of the highs and lows of surgical life in hard-hitting detail, bringing to life a morally ambiguous world in which good people face impossible choices and in which routines designed to normalize experience have the unintended effect of highlighting war's absurdity. With stories that are at once comical and tragic, de Rond captures the surreal experience of being a doctor at war. He lifts the cover on a world rarely ever seen, let alone written about, and provides a poignant counterpoint to the archetypical, adrenaline-packed, macho tale of what it is like to go to war.

Here the crude and visceral coexist with the tender and affectionate. The author tells of well-meaning soldiers at hospital reception, there to deliver a pair of legs in the belief that these can be reattached to their comrade, now in mid-surgery; of midsummer Christmas parties and pancake breakfasts and late-night sauna sessions; of interpersonal rivalries and banter; of caring too little or too much; of tenderness and compassion fatigue; of hell and redemption; of heroism and of playing God. While many good firsthand accounts of war by frontline soldiers exist, this is one of the first books ever to bring to life the experience of the surgical teams tasked with mending what war destroys.

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Mark de Rond is a professor of organizational ethnography at Cambridge University. His innovative research has featured widely in the press and has generated a series of award-winning books, including The Last Amateurs, and scholarly articles. His most recent fieldwork involved an attempt to row the Amazon unsupported to try and understand how people solve problems in difficult environments, earning him a place in the Guinness World Records in the process. Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of many books, including War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.

"This text provides renewed insight into the irrational world of humans, where we engage in endless efforts to kill one another while mustering immense energy to save and repair those injured and harmed in the process."

Choice - M. W. Carr, US Army Watercraft & Riverine Operations, US Coast Guard and US Navy Diving

"This is an amazing and fast read that tears at the reader's every emotion. It leaves one ready to serve and be thankful for the sacrifice of so many in the medical community."

Military Review: The Professional Journal of the U.S. Army - Lt. Col. Jason E. Pelletier, U.S. Army, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

"[de Rond's talent at describing places, spaces, and objects is nothing short of amazing.... Doctors at War should be read by anyone who hasn't seen a war."

Organization - Barbara Czarniawska

"Mark de Rond brilliantly presents the human side of those doctors, making them incredibly relatable. So relatable, that we might for one second forget about the barbarity they witness and how emotionally strong they must be, to imagine ourselves wanting to embrace the same challenges and purpose."

Symbolic Interaction

"The book turns reflexive when, back home, de Rond finds himself 'disillusioned with what I felt was a pedestrian, low-status, egocentric game of academia' (p. 133). Confronted with the human consequences of war, academia can seem hopeless (p. 128). Once again academics are faced with the question, does our work matter? And once again the moment can turn existential. If academics do immerse themselves in de Rond's book, they will find themselves on firmer ground no matter what they conclude about what matters."

Administrative Science Quarterly - Karl E. Weick

Keyword Index
Surgery, Military - Afghanistan.|Afghan War, 2001- - Medical care.|Military hospitals - Afghanistan.|Medicine, Military - Afghanistan.
Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages
xxi, 150

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