Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered.
Following the publication of his celebrated New York Times bestseller Do No Harm, Marsh retired from his full-time job in England to work pro bono in Ukraine and Nepal. In Admissions he describes the difficulties of working in these troubled, impoverished countries and the further insights it has given him into the practice of medicine.
Marsh also faces up to the burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering. Unearthing memories of his early days as a medical student, and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, he explores the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties, and where the overwhelming urge to prolong life can come at a tragic cost for patients and those who love them.
Reflecting on what forty years of handling the human brain has taught him, Marsh finds a different purpose in life as he approaches the end of his professional career and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.
“Marsh has retired, which means he’s taking a thorough inventory of his life. His reflections and recollections make Admissions an even more introspective memoir than his first, if such a thing is possible."—The New York Times
"His descriptions of his work there demonstrate again his gift with both scalpel and pen. In vivid prose, he captures the terrifying risks he faces with each cut, each decision."—The Washington Post
"It feels like a privilege to spend time with Marsh, an exemplary person with lambent emotions whose fearsome skills and hidden fears are a reminder of how exultant, sad, ardent, and swift life really is."—The New Yorker
"Disarmingly frank storytelling and...querulously, warty sort of heroism. He is, in spite of himself, hugely likeable . . . his reflections on death and dying equal those in Atul Gawande's excellent Being Mortal . . . Admissionsis more about the man than the surgeon, but it is excellent in its own right."—The Economist
"Consistently entertaining...Honesty is abundantly apparent here—a quality as rare and commendable in elite surgeons as one suspects it is in memoirists."—The Guardian
"Superb...a eulogy to surgery and a study of living. I didn't want this book to end. Henry Marsh is part of a growing canon of superb modern medical writers . . . whose storytelling and prose are transportative ... His timing is also impeccable ... His sentences, too, feel like works of the finest craftmanship, made with the love that goes into both his woodwork and surgery."—Jessamy Calkin, Daily Telegraph
"Do No Harm, candid and tender, was one of the most powerful books written by a doctor ... His follow-up book does not disappoint. The maverick is back, even more blunt and irascible, with tales of thrilling, high-wire operations at medicine's unconquered frontier, woven through with personal memoir ... Marsh in full spate is quite magnificent . . . a master of tar-black, deadpan humour."—Melanie Reid, The Times
"Poignant, fascinating stories."—People
"Admissions is a humbling read, in which neurosurgeon Henry Marsh shares fascinating facts learnt during his 40-year career as a brain surgeon. He has a deep humanity that resonates throughout."—Good Housekeeping