With candor and sensitivity, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, in collaboration with the former journalist, Curtis Pepper, has written about his unusual life. That a 46-year-old would undertake this project might be considered presumptuous. Yet, in the past decade, notable backward glances at midstream have appeared, such as James Watson's The Double Helix and Norman Podhoretz's Making It. Recent precedent aside, the obvious advantage of a younger man's memoirs is the immediacy to past events; a disadvantage might be lack of perspective. By concentrating on his own experiences and feelings and by avoiding arrogant pronouncements, Barnard has produced a highly readable personal account. Of great interest is his description of the first human heart transplant, including facts about the experimental background, decision making, and the reactions of the team and of the recipient and his family and of the donor's family.
An even greater value of the book lies in the honest
GOLDWYN RM. One Life. Arch Surg. 1970;101(3):448. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340270096029
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