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I had this title in my queue for quite a while, finally getting around to it this week. I was really hoping for some gripping battlefield triage stories, and some detail on what the day-to-day rigor would be for (Letterman) or any surgeon for that matter. Unfortunately, the author never really takes you there. It seems (to me), he spends a painful amount of time telling back stories and anecdotal sidebars about several people/soldiers associated with the Letterman that he gets sidetracked and thus loses me nearly every chapter.
Many of the historical notes he mentions regarding the battles, and leaders (even though he clearly warns readers in the preface that the book will NOT be about battles and leaders) I and the average Civil War amateur will already know. And there are more than a few chapters where I found myself asking who the book was about since the author takes liberties to expound on Letterman's associates more than are necessary though in hind sight, with Letterman dying at a relatively young age (just after he misdiagnoses his wife which causes her to die) adds to the irony of Letterman's surgical lore.
Even considering the aforementioned, maybe the book itself would have been a decent read instead of the audio version because the narration does nothing to help the story along. It was...Horrible!
Try it for yourself and call me a liar if you like it. You might. There is some decent dialog, but if you're looking for a solid biography on strictly Civil War doctor stuff, this title isn't the answer. Then again, you find interest in the hospital administration (I wasn't) which there is plenty of.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Interesting listen. Our modern battle-field medicine practices come down for Jonathan Ledermen.
How could the performance have been better?
The narration is, sadly, the lower point of this book. It is serviceable, but it is very monotone and lifeless.