MASH: An Army Surgeon in Korea

  • by Otto F. Apel JR. M.D., Pat Apel
  • Narrated by Dr. Bill Brooks
  • 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When North Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, Otto Apel was a surgical resident living in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and three young children. A year later he was chief surgeon of the 8076th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, constantly near the front lines in Korea. Immediately upon arriving in camp, Apel performed 80 hours of surgery. His feet swelled so badly, he had to cut his boots off, and he saw more surgical cases in those three and a half days than he would have in a year back in Cleveland. In addition to his own story, Apel details the operating conditions, workload, and patient care at the MASH units while revealing the remarkable advances made in emergency medical care. MASH units were the first hospitals designed for operations close to the front lines, and from this particularly difficult vantage their medical staffs were responsible for innovations in the use of antibiotics and blood plasma and in arterial repair. On film and television, MASH doctors and nurses have been portrayed as irreverent and having little patience with standard military procedures. In this powerful memoir, Apel reveals just how realistic these portrayals were.
The book is published by The University Press of Kentucky.


What the Critics Say

"The authors have skillfully blended the surgeon's personal experiences into the bigger picture of military medicine, providing the reader with an informative and interesting account of the MASH and its impact during the Korean War." (Military)
"A superb book... Reading this fine nonfiction account of an army surgeon in the Korean War will make you wish you had been there treating casualties. It did me!" (Journal of the American Medical Association)
"An excellent account of the history of MASH units and how they operated in Korea." (Navy Medicine)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Should be re-recorded

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, if someone was truly interested in the subject. This is a good history of the beginning of some of the standard surgical techniques adapted for trauma surgery.

What was one of the most memorable moments of MASH: An Army Surgeon in Korea?

The truth behind the shower tent canvas removal scene in the television series was quite a hoot.

What does Dr. Bill Brooks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was difficult to listen to Dr. Brooks- his pronunciations and completely inappropriate Korean accent left an unappealing sound in my ear.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I'm not good at this type of thing, sorry.

Any additional comments?

This book is a historical and social icon. It should be re-recorded with less strained medical terminology elocution and more sensitivity should be applied to the Korean dialogue. It came off sounding worse than a Mel Brooks film.

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- Jen Woodring

One of best combat related books

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend to a friend who is interested in war as I am. I have listened to and read many books about war and combat but this book looks at war from a different perspective. Once I started to listed I couldn't stop.

What did you like best about this story?

The explanations of the innovations in medical treatments brought about by this combat experience.

Which scene was your favorite?

All of the scenes in the operating room.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

Excellent narrator.

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- Buffalo Bill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2015
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks