Professor Harold Ellis (Westminster Medical School, London) has provided an informative and delightful description of 16 famous operations. He chose five because they were major breakthroughs in surgical service, four because they were innovations in technique, and seven because although they were standard operations, they were performed on famous persons.
Written with the low-key incisive wit characteristic of this warm humanist, each is a short essay that not only describes the operative procedure, but provides a glimpse of the state of the art and history of the times. Each chapter is short enough to be consumed as a morsel of informative bedside reading. There is nothing stuffy, dry, or pedantic in these pithy essays—neither is their author, whose wry comments enlighten almost every page.