A Surgeon and a Maverick: The Life and Pioneering Work of Magdi Yacoub

American Univ. in Cairo. Oct. 2023. 11:08 hrs. ISBN 9781649033482. $28.99. BIOG
Former journalists at London’s The Times, Pearson (The Great Escaper) and Gorman illuminate the career of Egyptian cardiac surgeon Magdi Yacoub. With a brisk, reporter-like tone, narrator Charles Johnston relays the details of Yacoub’s life, from studying medicine at the University of Cairo to his remarkable career at two London hospitals. Yacoub set out to impact patients’ lives by making his services accessible to all; he was known for his thoughtful communication with his patients, especially those undergoing riskier procedures. The surgeon taught his students to be community resources, not just medical experts, a practice he later drew upon when creating a global nonprofit to raise funds for necessary surgeries. Yacoub, who pioneered numerous innovative life-saving procedures, was knighted in 1992, was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014, and befriended Princess Diana, who, like him, was committed to helping hospitalized children. With measured precision, Johnston draws listeners into Yacoub’s story, ably communicating the authors’ exacting research.
VERDICT A remarkable biography of a gifted surgeon whose professional journey took off at a time when many his age were already looking back on their careers. Yacoub’s story embodies what one determined individual can do by pushing boundaries and advocating for those in need.
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