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Book and Media Reviews
March 2, 2011

Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine: A Practical Guide

JAMA. 2011;305(9):942-946. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.231

The biggest challenge I faced while reading this book was determining the target audience. The preface states that it is “an entry-level text aimed at medical, nursing, and paramedical staff undertaking work in a hostile environment.” Elsewhere, the book is described as a “manual,” and the title states that it is a “practical guide.” It actually is difficult to classify, being a mix of anecdotal first-person sections describing the real-life experiences of field clinicians in a variety of environments (including Baghdad and Pristina), clinical sections describing medical care for a wide variety of conditions likely to be encountered in a variety of field settings, background material describing how military conflicts and complex humanitarian emergencies arise, operational material regarding nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and military units, and even some political commentary.

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