John Sweeney

Harrowing Dispatches

Contact Wounds: A War Surgeon’s Education

By

Picador 416pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

The final lines of Lermontov’s ‘The Sail’ – ‘Restless, he begs for storms, / As though in storms there is rest’ – sum up the spirit of this book. Raw courage, skill and knowledge are on show in these dispatches of a battle surgeon from harrowing places. But there is also a saddening sense of personal dislocation, as if the author is not a man who is at ease with himself. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,