A provocative and heartfelt new memoir from the brain surgeon and bestselling author of DO NO HARM
THE SUNDAY TIMES NO.1 BESTSELLER
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. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what forty years spent handling the human brain has taught him.
Moving between encounters with patients in his London hospital, to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, Henry 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 both patients and for those who love them.
In this searing, provocative and deeply personal memoir, the bestselling author of Do No Harm finds new purpose in his own life as he approaches the end of his professional career, and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.
Henry Marsh was one of Britain's foremost brain surgeons, and worked as Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St George's Hospital in London for thirty years. Since retiring from full-time work in the NHS, he has continued to operate and lecture abroad, in Nepal, Albania and Ukraine. His prize-winning memoir, DO NO HARM, was a SUNDAY TIMES and NEW YORK TIMES bestseller. He has been the subject of two award-winning documentary films, YOUR LIFE IN THEIR HANDS and THE ENGLISH SURGEON. He was made a CBE in 2010.
Sensational...Marsh is curmudgeonly, unflinching, clinical, competitive, often contemptuous and consistently curious. In Admissions he scrubs up just as well the second time around and continues to revel in his joyous candour — THE SUNDAY TIMES
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
Marsh is, given his profession, a surprisingly emotional man, likably so. His account of his younger self that threads through this compulsive book is a Bildungsroman in itself. He is also a fine writer and storyteller, and a nuanced observer — Tim Adams, OBSERVER
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
Disarmingly frank storytelling. [Marsh] is, in spite of himself, hugely likeable...his reflections on death and dying equal those in Atul Gawande's excellent Being Mortal — ECONOMIST
Epigramatically balanced and almost brutally candid...Admissions offers a reprise of many of [Do No Harm's] virtues, from the elegance of the writing to the undiminished sense of wonder at the complexity of the brain — Tom Sutcliffe, MAIL ON SUNDAY
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
Transgressive, wry and confessional, sporadically joyful and occasionally doleful. It is in many ways a more revealing work than Do No Harm, and the revelations it offers are a good deal more personal...Marsh skilfully articulates the subtleties and frustrations of neurosurgery - but there is a deeper examination of death, and an angrier exposition of the shameful betrayal of the NHS by successive generations of politicians...honesty is abundantly apparent here - a quality as rare and commendable in elite surgeons as one suspects it is in memoirists...elegaic but consistently entertaining — Gavin Francis, GUARDIAN
An enthralling book, unputdownable...it is an exhilarating, even thrilling read, a glimpse into a world we hope we may never have to enter — THE ARTS DESK
Fascinating...Marsh paints a vivid picture of the pressures imposed on a surgeon who is quite literally at the cutting edge of modern medicine — William Hartston, DAILY EXPRESS
[Marsh] is wise and insightful about the balance and confidence, truth and uncertainty faced by doctors...his insights about life, death and professional purpose are irresistible — Hannah Beckerman, SUNDAY EXPRESS
I particularly relished his descriptions of the anatomy of the brain itself, as well as his can-do accounts of freeing cancerous masses from their baroque architecture - but I enjoyed (if this is the correct word) still more his willingness to delve as fearlessly into his own, troubled being ... accounts of highly undoctorly behaviour that nonetheless confirms Marsh as the man I would most like to have prying open my skull. Perhaps most disarming of all is Marsh's frankness about his own fears of growing older and dying ... should be distributed to every care home in Britain — Will Self, NEW STATESMAN