Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Written by:
Henry Marsh
Narrated by:
J.P. Barclay

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2015
9 hours 35 minutes
Longlisted for both the Guardian First Book Award and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Do No Harm ranks alongside the work of Atul Gawande, Jerome Groopman, and Oliver Sacks.

With compassion and candor, leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humor that characterize a brain surgeon's life. If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practiced by calm and detached surgeons, this gripping, brutally honest account will make you think again.

Henry Marsh studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London, became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was appointed Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St George's Hospital in London in 1987. He has been the subject of two major documentary films, Your Life in Their Hands, which won the Royal Television Society Gold Medal, and The English Surgeon, which won an Emmy. He was made a CBE in 2010. He is married to the anthropologist and writer Kate Fox.
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I'm fascinated by the subject matter, and found for the most part that the stories related to each chapter heading (typically the name of a type of brain tumor) piqued my interest and intrigue. In time, however, I came to realize that the self-effacing writer was a bit of a downer. Sure, I get it that in his field there is no lack for tragedy. At one point he even admitted to the belief that there aren't any miracles in his field. My response to that is, "Not even one?" Sure, there were stories that hinted at good outcomes, but for the most part Marsh seems bent on relating only failures, poor outcomes, tragedies. Maybe it's the European cultural influence, and as an American I'm a hopeless optimist, but I wanted to get in Marsh's ear and ask him if his entire career seems as futile to him as his book implies.

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Daniel V.

I thought this book was an entertaining romp through the world of scalpels through the eyes of a renowned and honest brain surgeon. Insightful, humorous and human. I highly recommend this book.

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Dietmar B.

Incredible fun book. He is a gifted person. Most of all comes across as honest and competent. The narration makes me understand what "Voice Actor" really stands for. He is among the few.

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Shannon D.

A phenomenal exciting and engrossing story of the lives of people and the animals they interact with

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Jane A.

As a nurse, I really enjoyed and it brought me back to my time in the neuro unit. I loved the narrator because he was just what I could visualize.

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Glenn Masucci

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Narration was fantastic. I just wish there were more happy anecdotes but overall it was great.

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Kerris D.

I loved this book! I loved hearing this British neurosurgeon tell his own story. It was eye-opening, thrilling, and a rare look into medicine. I will probably listen to it again in a year or so b/c I loved it so much!

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