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From Sheri Fink, author of Five Days at Memorial, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for NonfictionIn April 1992, a handful of young physicians, not one of them a surgeon, was trapped along with 50,000 men, women, and children in the embattled enclave of Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. There the doctors faced the most intense professional, ethical, and personFrom Sheri Fink, author of Five Days at Memorial, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for NonfictionIn April 1992, a handful of young physicians, not one of them a surgeon, was trapped along with 50,000 men, women, and children in the embattled enclave of Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. There the doctors faced the most intense professional, ethical, and personal predicaments of their lives.Drawing on extensive interviews, documents, and recorded materials she collected over four and a half years, doctor and journalist Sheri Fink tells the harrowing--and ultimately enlightening--story of these physicians and the three who try to help them: an idealistic internist from Doctors without Borders, who hopes that interposition of international aid workers will help prevent a massacre; an aspiring Bosnian surgeon willing to walk through minefields to reach the civilian wounded; and a Serb doctor on the opposite side of the front line with the army that is intent on destroying his former colleagues.With limited resources and a makeshift hospital overflowing with patients, how can these doctors decide who to save and who to let die? Will their duty to treat patients come into conflict with their own struggle to survive? And are there times when medical and humanitarian aid ironically prolong war and human suffering rather than helping to relieve it?...

Title : War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival
Author :
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ISBN : 9781586482671
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 429 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival Reviews

  • Glenn
    2018-12-06 05:28

    It is the gift of a fine writer, whether of fiction or non-fiction, to be able to place the reader…right there. So, that for however long you are reading, the outside world falls away, and you find yourself completely inside the experiences, thoughts, words of the actual people or characters inside a book.Dr. Sheri Fink has done something along these lines, but by overcoming more difficult obstacles than most authors. For the story of the War Hospital in Srebrenica is not a story of a place that any of us would ever wish to be in. But there we are. And it is testament to Sheri Fink's skill as a writer that no matter how you may wish to pull away—and you will—from the first details of an amputation, to the genocide that ends the story, Dr. Fink keeps the reader riveted, going forward, much as the doctors in Srebrenica, operating for much of their time in Civil-War era-like conditions, could also not pull away, despite the very human desire, oft-mentioned, to do just that.Sheri Fink accomplishes two tremendous things with “War Hospital.” First, this is a top-shelf work of journalism, reportage. Without shrinking away from the horrors, both physical and emotional that occur on a near-daily basis, she makes the situation, the awful situation, inside Srebrenica, plain. She makes the incomprehensible understandable. It is no small feat.But she also writes movingly, beautifully, and never allows her straightforward, elegant writing to get in the way of the story. She plunges her hands into the rich soil of this tragedy, and presents it so that any reader can follow the terrible chain of events, the vast international failure, that led to the horrors before and following Srebrenica's fall.There is a phrase whose overuse has rendered it nearly meaningless: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Sheri Fink's “War Hospital” is a blow against that amnesia. I hope that such books—as brilliant as this one—may not for long need to be written again.

  • Kate
    2018-11-18 08:00

    Really enjoyed this book. I read this after reading "5 Days at Memorial" as I liked the author and the perspective that she provided on actual events. This book was written about physicians aiding in the Bosnian War in the mountainous city of Srebrenica. I thought she did a great job of providing a prospective not only of those who were native Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs, but also of the NGO's that went in the provide "humanitarian aid". It was fascinating to read the bureaucracy that goes into providing humanitarian aid as well as simply fighting a war. I felt like I lost sleep thinking about the atrocities that were committed because of hatred, and the atrocities committed by not stepping in to aid the victims of war. I would definitely recommend this book. There were times were my stomach turned because of the endless war wounds that are treated by the doctors, but amputations aside, it's a great book to make you think!

  • Marsha Reynolds
    2018-11-30 11:19

    This book was meticulously researched and fascinating to read. It's extremely disappointing to know that worldwide people continue to fight rather than love, accept and support one another. After reading this, I understand better the history behind the conflict in Bosnia/Serbia. It's disturbing to think that outsiders did not get involved when intervention could have made a huge difference in the outcome. The author was thorough without being overly graphic and she was fair in her assessment and presentation of individuals. Her purposeful tense shift approach was a little distracting.

  • Ryan
    2018-11-14 09:08

    An absolutely fascinating and well written book. I stopped many times to think about the nature of man, our political system and what I would do if I ever was in a situation like the brave people in Srebrenica. I'm not sure I could be nearly as brave.

  • Karen
    2018-12-05 09:59

    There’s no way to “jolly up” the effects of war, and Shari Fink’s book is a sobering account of a community under siege and of its local hospital--short-staffed, without electricity, and often without supplies--during the 1990s Yugoslav war. Performing surgeries, including amputations, under hardship conditions is challenging enough; add the fact that most of the doctors were not even trained as surgeons, and you get a small sense of the medical challenges during wartime. I wish this were required reading before any country allowed itself to become engaged in war. It’s a sobering reminder of the results of nationalism and media manipulation (two strong contributors to the Bosnian conflict). It’s also a cautionary tale about the breakdown of social institutions during wartime. Despite its sobering realism, the book on occasion also reminds us that humanity can be found in the midst of otherwise inhuman conditions.The epilogue includes “where are they now?” updates on the doctors and other key figures in the narrative, as well as astute analysis of the conflict itself and questions about sending in humanitarian aid when military intervention might be more appropriate (especially in a war zone where genocidal intent grows increasingly clear).

  • Ella McCrystle
    2018-11-11 05:17

    Perhaps not as shocking to me as it should have been, this is a story that needs to be told and retold about many hospitals in many places. The commonality between this "war hospital" and the average poverty-ridden public hospital in the US is upsetting. Everyone should read Sheri Fink's books, and if you're more interested in what might happen in the USA, read Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, her new book.

  • Bianca Ichim
    2018-11-11 09:28

    It took me more than one year to finish it as it was hard to start reading a new chapter after crying a lot over the last one. It is my new favorite book and I heartily recommend it to all medical students. Thank you so so much, Man Docanu :D

  • John
    2018-11-21 04:11

    The War was the Bosnian war in the early 1990s; the Hospital was the hospital in the besieged mostly Muslim Bosnian city of Srebrenica. "War Hospital" is both a riveting tale of medical professionals working in horrendous conditions and a maddening account of how the international community failed to make good on its promise that Srebrenica would be a "safe zone." Here's a sentence that would evoke frustration under any circumstances:The person who receives the request rejects it because it's on the wrong form.But in its context, that sentence made me want to hurl the book across the room. (Note to the library from which the book was borrowed: I did not do this.) If you read this book, when you get to Page 291, you'll see for yourself.You will be rewarded if you do read it by skillful, knowledgeable reporting, but reading about the extent of man's inhumanity to man is painful. It's painful, too, to realize that the same things are happening today, just with the names of places and people changing. It may be a superficial comparison, but to me, much of what was happening in Bosnia then sounded a lot like what has been happening in Syria in recent years. Elsewhere, the government of Sudan ruthlessly attacks its own people in the name of ethnic cleansing. South Sudan, which split off from Sudan, is embroiled in a brutal civil war of its own. The city of Mosul, in northern Iraq, has been virtually destroyed, with survivors left in unthinkable straits. The Christian relief agency Samaritan's Purse operates an emergency field hospital north of Mosul, where volunteers respond to atrocities similar to those once faced by the medical professionals in Srebrenica. This is what "Nurse Maranatha" wrote in the agency's summer 2017 "Prayer Point":A beautiful girl of 5 years old lies still on an emergency room cot, her angelic eyes staring upward, with dark, curly, brown hair matted in blood around her forehead. Occasionally, she blinks. She doesn't cry or say a word."Thirteen more coming," I hear someone say. I glance around the room, swallowing hard. Patients are filling every bed. Stretchers are wheeling through the room, transporting the next patients to the two operating rooms. The ones missing limbs go first.In her epilogue, Sheri Fink writes, "It is my great, albeit unrealistic, hope that no doctors or nurses will ever again have to face such decisions."A great hope, indeed, and one that fallen humanity cannot achieve.

  • Robin Winter
    2018-12-07 07:26

    One of my top ten books. Here is history made real, war in the subjective tense, some of the finest of human impulses and drives countered and checked by timid bureaucratic legalisms under horrific circumstances. From the inciting of distrust all the way to attempted genocide, this is a coherent and terrifying story. I profoundly admire Sheri Fink for her balance, her restraint, and the compassion of her voice. She lets us feel our own emotions, she never tells her reader what to think. The final chapter, setting forth her conclusions and even her hopes, should make this required reading for our military, foreign service servants, all health professionals and those involved in the ethical studies of law and politics, international and domestic.

  • Beverly Hollandbeck
    2018-11-23 07:22

    This is an account of a small group of doctors involved in humanitarian aid in the Bosnia/Serbian War in the 1990s. If you remember the reports from that war, there were so many different factions that it was difficult to figure out who was fighting and why, and that, for me, was also the case in this book (there are Serbians and Bosnians and Serbian Muslims and Bosnian Muslims, for example). But who is who was not the point. The sacrifices and suffering of medical personnel were incredible. It's hard to understand why people would volunteer (in MSF) to go to a war, and the planet is blessed to have people like this. The author, Dr. Fink, presented a well-researched and compelling narrative.

  • Sara
    2018-11-15 08:11

    To be honest, I was hesitant to read this even after a personal recommendation and after reading the reviews for Five Days at Memorial. I did not make a mistake in picking up this book. Granted, I could see how people who are not familiar with the war or with the details of what took place in Srebrenica would find this difficult to get through, as Fink records the minutia of the daily obstacles the local doctors and staff, the international humanitarian aid organization representatives and staff, and other deal with in order to make the hospital in Srebrenica function. However, despite having knowledge of the events before and after the genocide, I felt that three things kept me reading: 1. It was more than just a discussion of medicine. You saw how people made difficult medical/ethical decisions in a way that made these people feel both alive and human (not just medical professionals) 2. The book details the bureaucracy that comes along with providing aid or put another way, places the events solidly within the geo-political and national political events 3. She does not shy away from discussing the major questions the way aid was handled during the war and other facets of the international response, which are many (e.g. when, if at all, is acting militarily actually humanitarian aid?), without denouncing the aid entirely.That said, this is a hard read emotionally (due to the topic at hand and Fink's skill at bringing the events to life for those who did not experience in anyway but on the news or in the newspaper), but required if only just to listen to these stories too often forgot or ignored.

  • Peter Meerem
    2018-11-27 09:27

    Extremely well researched and utterly unputdownable. Fink drags you by the ear through the horrors of the Balkan wars, forcing you to feel to desolation and helplessness of medical professionals desperately trying to save a civilian population besieged by Serb forces intent on revenge for an Ottoman invasion 600 years ago.A tour the force. Stop reading this review and go buy it.

  • Yasmine Abu halawa
    2018-11-17 06:05

    Intense, honest, and brave. An eye-opening account into a long-forgotten tragedy. The stories of war are usually told by the winner, less often the loser. But this one is different, told from the eyes of doctors and medical workers; war takes a different form. A crisis of humanity. An inexcusable use of power. A failure of politics. What the world truly needs, is a new perspective. If we all saw war through it's victims, what would we do? If the starving children and the bleeding men were right in front of us, how would the world react? We hide behind the comfort of distance and forgetfulness. Going on about our day, as people, one by one, perish, at the hands of their fellows. Again and again. I am overcome by a sense of guilt and the need to help. And then, like the rest of us, I forget.This is not true for the aid workers in this story, not true of the doctors and surgeons who risked their lives to try to lend a helping hand. They are the bravest of us all, for they offered their help in hopes of no reward. No money, no patriotism, no medals, nothing.To be an aid worker, I believe, is to become an angel on Earth, one whose hands are tied by the chains of legal jargon and bureaucracy. Another matter presents itself, as doctors, delivering medical services and maintaining neutrality is crucial. But when thousands and thousands of patients pass in front of you, it becomes a moral duty to stand up and demand the end of their suffering. But at the risk of endangering yourself and your patients, how far do you go? How much power do you yield, a single voice in the midst of the clutter of war.As a medical student, my profession never seemed so ... heroic. To stand in an operating room, with bombs falling around you is ... unimaginable. The strength of those doctors is to be forgotten. There are doctors right now, operating under the same conditions, or even worse. Never forget them. I hope to one day become as brave and selfless as the doctors in this book, and I hope to God, if I'm ever needed, that I have the strength to carry on.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-01 11:24

    This was a powerful book about the siege and eventual fall/genocide of Srebrenica, but I am not sure I would chose to read it again if I was able to go back in time. It was a heartbreaking, extremely detailed account of a war that I had only cursory understanding of previously. It was also a sad commentary on the ability of those in power to manipulate and engender fear and hatred among a population for their own agenda. I am left wondering whether I would be half as brave, innovative, or determined as the people described; I think it is very unlikely. I was also struck with the likely parallels to the war in Syria, and wondering if we are in fact falling into the same mistakes and ignorance of human suffering all over again in our attempts (or lack thereof) to "help."Ends with a discussion of the challenge of providing medical and humanitarian aid in the midst of conflict, and the need for the global community to sometimes act militarily to be humanitarian. I am left, however, not really knowing what to do with all of questions posed and mistakes shown in the book. If I somehow had the chance, I would encourage the author to add a short "where are they now" section to bring us up to date with the main characters in a future edition. I guess I wanted some kind of naive happy moment at the end where you find out that some survivors went on to thrive in spite of what they endured.

  • Mansoor
    2018-12-07 05:10

    I heard about this book when NPR interviewed the author, and I thought it would be a great way to learn more about the war in the former Yugoslavia. The book discusses the war through the experience of one town, Srebrenica.Fink did a great job researching the war. War Hospital explains clearly the history of the region, the politics behind the war, and the progression of the war.She also detailed an interesting paradox that had never occurred to me. In the book, Fink describes how countries believed they should get involved, but delayed making a decision by sending humanitarian aid. In this way, humanitarian aid actually prolonged the suffering of the people in Srebrenica.The only downside to this book is that it's told in the present tense. It was distracting to hear a universally aware narrator telling the story as if she were in the midst of it. You're either in the story, or you're not. The writing makes it difficult to read unless you're really interested in the war, Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), or the politics of humanitarian aid.

  • Jeff
    2018-11-16 04:02

    A well written and well researched account of the events in Srebrenica, Bosnia from 1992-1995 as experienced through the lives of the handful of doctors present in and near the town. The doctors, many of them only recently graduated from medical school and none initially with trauma/surgery training provide medical care (along with volunteers from Médecins Sans Frontières) for the population throughout the Bosnian war. They work with sparse supplies, few medines and a spartan operating room often lacking electricity. Not infrequently artillery and morters fall in the town. They and the population they are serving lack food and safety, and fear of attack and slaughter permeate each day. This account tells their story and we see very real and fallible men and women making decisions as they attempt to survive and provide aid to those around them. The book contains significant amounts of information concerning the activity of the miltiary forces, the United Nations, and other international agencies involved which broaden the story beyond the personal and medical in order to grasp the larger scope of what occured.

  • Ella
    2018-12-08 12:17

    I read this after reading Sheri Fink's more recent "Five Days at Memorial" and much like that work, "War Hospital" delves into some very difficult questions. "War Hospital" is set during the long siege of Srebenica in Bosnia and is centered around the doctors who practice medicine in heart-wrenching conditions inside the hospital there, as well as on the International medical aid community who served in Srebenica alongside them. As the book hurtles towards the impending genocide and devastation of 1995, the reader feels the same sense of hopelessness and doom that those trapped inside the enclave do. Fink doesn't just bring alive those harrowing years and final desperate weeks, she also asks what the responsibility of the international community is during wartime and lays bare the problem of believing that humanitarian aid is a substitute for resolving crisis and preventing suffering in the first place, through diplomacy and if necessary even military force. A thought provoking and well researched work of narrative non-fiction.

  • Meredith
    2018-12-08 08:02

    I found this book fascinating. I knew absolutely nothing about the conflict before picking it up (because I'm interested in medicine). I think it did a great job of showing how the conflict unfolded, how the players (including aid/relief groups) interacted to exasperate the conflict. Seeing how the doctors worked under increasing pressure and dwindling supplies was a testament to their resourcefulness. The main thing I learned was that I am not overly impressed with organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) who remain politically neutral and only address superficial problems. Watching the aid workers run around beurocracy and paperwork while never addressing key issues was frustrating. I think the writing style put you there in the dingy operating room with the doctors as they battled fatigue, depression, and loneliness. It gave you a sense of what it must be like to be mired in a conflict far off the map of most American interests.

  • Marti
    2018-11-14 10:24

    This is not a feel good read. It is a story of courage and compassion as well as an indictment of the callous indifference to suffering . Ashamed to write I never really paid much attention to this conflict. Unfortunately , most of the world did not either . This read was very compelling and thought provoking in areas of. Medical neutrality and what is effective humanitarian help for people undergoing oppression and intended victims of genocide. It brought the shocking realization that ethnic cleansing and genocide continues in a world that swore it would never occur again. Thanks to the brave doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly for years to provide medical aid under the most primitive circumstances without even the most basic elements to save lives .

  • Jen
    2018-11-23 09:10

    The author's style of integrating the stories of multiple medical staff working in and around Srebrenica, Bosnia from 1992-1995 is incredibly engaging. It personalized the struggles of those in Srebrenica, sharing stories of hope, hell, survival, and genocide. A quote from Dr. Eric Dachy seems to sum up the failure of intervention in Srebrenica best: "There is no justice without power and humanitarian compassion is not power."

  • Perkimom
    2018-11-23 12:01

    While learning much about the Bosnian conflict and genocide, an area of history of which I was unfamiliar, the book became tedious. I should probably feel bad to say that about the many travails during the conflict. What I was hoping for in this book was more about Doctors Without a Borders, war hospitals, and humanitarian aid. While this book covered the difficulties aid had with support, it was just too much for me.

  • Kristen
    2018-11-29 08:03

    The author of this book came to SIPA with several of the doctors she wrote about. I sat with my mouth agape as they related their stories of saving lives in the midst of utter chaos and terror as Yugoslavia crumbled. I left and immediately started reading this book, and only put it down when the subject got too overwhelming for me.The people featured in Sheri Fink's outstanding book are true heroes.

  • Lotte
    2018-11-19 06:14

    These 4 stars are well earned by the author for her exhaustive research leading to this painstakingly detailed narrative of the meager Srebrenican medical community during a 3 1/2 year Serb assault against the eastern Bosnian city. I found myself occasionally wishing for a reprieve from the massive amount of detail, but also felt compelled to see it to the end and was grateful I did.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-11-28 03:59

    I want to emphasize that my two-star review has to do with my enjoyment of the book and is not a reflection upon the amount of work the author did in order to write it, which was obviously substantial. My problem with the story was that it was not a story--it was a narrative that was very well researched but, in my opinion, not at all compelling.

  • Chris
    2018-12-09 07:02

    Dealing with Doctors withut Borders in Sebrenika up to the Serbian slaughter. The book itself became repetitive and I found myself unable to finish it. Focus of interest was the issue of the potention damage of humanitarian aid in the face of genocide when a powerful, military response my be the only effective way of ending the killing.

  • Banafsheh Serov
    2018-12-03 12:14

    Fantastic account of the doctors who managed to achieve amazing things under the most brutal circumstances. Fisk places the reader right in the thick of it, giving us first-person account of what it was like to be trapped in Srebrenica, surrounded by enemy, and with little help from outside world.

  • Jonathan
    2018-12-02 11:26

    Absolutely overwhelming. The people in this book suffer more, and react more heroicly than I would deem possible ... or perhaps, sane. Yougoslavia ... hospital with only doctors, and nothing else ... doctors without borders. Read it!

  • Fata
    2018-11-30 06:09

    I have not learned anything from the book. Simply because the book is about something I have lived through. I think the book is great. It is a true story about the siege and the fall of my birthtown during the war in Bosnia.

  • Dhartridge
    2018-12-06 11:13

    Impressive book about the lives and situations of doctors in a war zone. Set in Bosnia in the 1990s, this view of the complicated politics and many tradgedies associated with most recent war in Europe provides lessons that apply to today's situation in Syria.

  • Brent Nelson
    2018-12-08 06:24

    An amazing book--very raw but incredibly powerful