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Book and Media Reviews
February 22/29, 2012

Invasion of the Body: Revolutions in Surgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky (hcpolk01@louisville.edu).

JAMA. 2012;307(8):867. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.209

The 384-page Invasion of the Body: Revolutions in Surgery is scholarly, articulate, and even eloquent in spots, and, while formidable, also readable. As such, it is exceedingly uncommon to find in a single book a concisely told history of surgery and medicine as well as pertinent comments—pro and con—on US policy issues that will require attention and action in 2012. The book's patterns have been beautifully woven, both through its prose and through its organization. Focusing primarily on the United States, it mixes enjoyable vignettes of surgical care 90 years ago with contemporary options for treatment to compare the marked progress achieved in surgery over the last 125 years. The references are precise and relatively well chosen. However, this title is unfortunate for a really good book; indeed, one of the book's clearest themes is the progressively less invasive nature of 21st-century surgery. Perhaps the title and subtitle should have been reversed.