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January 2, 1978

No Man Alone: A Neurosurgeon's Life

Author Affiliations

University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada

JAMA. 1978;239(1):58. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280280058035

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This is a great book—heartwarming, full of surprises and candor—the story of an idea, of a pioneer bringing laboratory science to the bedside and to the operating room.

Wilder Penfield traces his life, from his birthplace in Spokane, Wash, to Wisconsin to Princeton to Oxford in the heyday of Sir Charles Sherrington and Sir William Osler. Convalescing at Osler's home, "The Open Arms," after being torpedoed in the Channel in 1916, Penfield gives an unequaled first-hand picture of the great teacher.

Graduation from Johns Hopkins, a surgical internship at the Brigham, and a return to Sherrington's laboratory and to neurology at Queen Square set the stage for a pathophysiologist turned clinician. After he was launched on a surgical career at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York by that wise clinician Allen Whipple, the restless Penfield and his family spent a productive six months in Madrid learning the metallic staining techniques