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War Doctor

Surgery on the Front Line
Narrated by: David Nott
Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,101 ratings)

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Summary

For more than 25 years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations and field surgery in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major London teaching hospital.

The conflicts he has worked in form a chronology of 21st-century combat: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria. But he has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal.

Driven both by compassion and passion, the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. But as time went on, David Nott began to realise that flying into a catastrophe - whether war or natural disaster - was not enough. Doctors on the ground needed to learn how to treat the appalling injuries that war inflicts upon its victims. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.

War Doctor is his extraordinary story.

This audio edition includes an interview between David and Eleanor Nott. 

©2019 David Nott (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

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Inspiring

I am awed by the courage and dedication of Dr Nott in saving lives of those dreadfully injured in wars and natural disasters. How he managed to work for most of the 24 hours, day after day, week after week with the threat of death from bombs hanging over him as he performed intricate life-saving operations is utterly amazing. Not surprisingly his health and mental state suffered.

His story really brought home to me the suffering of civilians caught up in conflicts over which they have no control and at the mercy of perverted ideologies such as those of the Taliban and ISIS or leaders like Assad careless of his peoples' welfare only interested in maintaining power at any cost. Assad is all the more despicable as he trained a medical doctor yet allowed hospitals to be bombed and gassed in his relentless desire to keep a grip on power.

Much of the book made me feel depressed at the never-ending stream of wars and disasters and the evidence that so many people can become torturers and killers of their fellow human-beings. However, the dedication of the medical teams and humanitarian workers risking their lives to save others was an antidote the horrors.

Dr Nott tells a gripping and heart-breaking story in his own voice.

PS: I have little respect for the Honours system and learning that Dr Nott was only awarded an OBE makes a mockery of these honours when captains of industry, politicians and actors get Knighthoods.

9 people found this helpful

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Inspiring,sad and mind blowing

This book demonstrates the two extreme sides of humanity.On one side,brutal dictators,barbaric lunatics,sadistic regimes killing innocent civilians,women,children,elderlies indiscriminately versus a Saint or an angel called David Nott who dedicated his life and skills to saving lives and healing people and reducing the suffering.A truly inspiring story,a rare, brave and humble human being whose dedication to humanitarian work gives hope to future generations.Listening to the book read by the author himself was really a wonderful experience.if only this miserable world had several David Notts,humanity would be in a happier place.

8 people found this helpful

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Fabulous

I work in the NHS and a colleague recommended this to me as we have our own little book club. When I started to read it, I knew from the beginning it was going to be a tough read and at the time I had just lost a very dear childhood friend and was devastated, so I thought maybe this is not the right time, but I decided to carry on. I was so glad I did, when you are at an all time low reading David Nott's story will reassure you there are a lot of great kind people out there and they put them selves in danger to save others, I was blown away by his kindness, humanity and his confidence in acknowledging that we don't always get things right.. Each day I was at work I had to tell someone about it, a colleague actually said "you need to meet this guy as he has obviously impressed you so much" Then last week I actually came across someone who worked with David and I asked "Please tell me he's as nice as he is in the book " her reply was "He's the Best"

4 people found this helpful

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Man on a Mission

I first heard David on Eddie Mair's radio show on BBC 4 and I was utterly mesmerised by his despatches from the front line. He made Syria real for me so I was delighted to get my hands on this exceptional book about an extraordinary man who takes his surgical skills to the world's war zones where he treats the wounded - many of them innocent children and trains the local surgical teams. It is harrowing and almost impossibly sad in places where he deals with the cruelty and inhumanity visited on innocent victims all over the world - including a desperately sad section about the psychological price he paid for his work. However, he tells it with such a calm compassionate voice that I just wanted to give him a hug at the end, though happily for him I'll leave that to his wife and kids. This book should be read by everyone especially any politicians who ever thinks war is an acceptable extension of politics. When you've finished the book treat yourself to his incredible Desert Island Discs podcast and then give your kids a hug. Finally, where's his knighthood? Come on guys, forget the celebrities and time servers and honour a true hero.

8 people found this helpful

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Please please listen to this

I work with David. I remember meeting him outside St Mary’s “on the phone to Assad”. Just one of those things that David does. The man is truly incredible, and yet utterly humble. But beyond this is the awful story of what happened in Syria and the change that occurred from medical aid being protected in conflict to being targeted. David and Eli are something very special. If you only listen to one book this year - this really must be it.

3 people found this helpful

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FANTASTIC!

An incredible story about a heroic human being. The world would be a better place with more people like David.

3 people found this helpful

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Will stay with me forever

In my all time Top 10 books. Powerful, harrowing, compelling and moving. This quietly spoken surgeon (along with his war doctor colleagues) is a true hero. Could not put it down.

2 people found this helpful

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Wow. This is incredible.

This is a quite alarming and excellent book by a quietly brilliant man. We are so lucky to have him. I have learnt so much and yes, whoever you are, do buy this book. Prepare to be left haunted, though.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book

Absolutely amazing and in parts shocking insight into David's Life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and think every one should read this book to gain an appreciation of what it is like on the front line. An emotional rollercoaster.

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A remarkable book....

I finished listening to this book last night and to be honest I still have goosebumps thinking about the incredible people whose remarkable humanitarian work is so humbly articulated by this unique person, David Nott. This biography takes the listener to places that beggar belief in terms of the horrors of conflict from a medical viewpoint. There are few stories where in the face of unimaginable suffering, horrific wrong doings and insurmountable obstacles, an individual can make such a difference, allowing hope to remain where it has little right to. At times, the stories of men, women and particularly children caught up in conflicts and natural disasters around the world is harrowing. There are few chapters where colour wont drain from your face and tears well in your eye yet this is must 'read' book. Despair is tempered by moments of wonder at the surgical outcomes achieved, the personal sacrifices made by many, the camaraderie of medical teams and the power of love, both for individuals and humanity. I cannot praise this book and its author highly enough. Truly remarkable!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-19

Astounding stories from the front line

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in humanitarian relief, working in hot spots or even just starting their medical profession.

This is a inspiring book painting the real picture of the situation in different parts of the world. Telling stories of real people and trying to shine a light on the problems on many different aspects.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-03-19

Captivating, emotional, inspiring

I loved this book, could not stop listening to it. It's emotional, sometimes heart-warming, sometimes completely dark, but sincere and very human. It's inspiring to see what can be achieved and it gives comfort in times of hardship - by comparison, you will feel that day-to-day struggles fade in intensity and importance.
I'll end up loving the author - I am so glad people like this exist, they restore your faith in humanity.

It's a must read - it will change you for the better.