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Combat Doctor presents the stories of the victims of the War in Afghanistan, as told by the last Canadian Officer Commanding at the Kandahar Role 3 Multinational Hospital.
In 2009, Marc Dauphin, an experienced emergency-room physician, served a full tour at the combat hospital in Kandahar. During his time there, he dealt with injuries more horrific than he had ever seen during his civilian experience. He and the Role 3 Hospital's international staff saw an unparalleled number of severe casualties and yet maintained a survival rate of 97 percent -- a record for all times and all wars.
It is impossible to remain unmoved by Marc Dauphin's descriptions of those he treated: the terrified children, the stoic soldiers, those mutilated almost beyond help. Each story is powerful, vividly told, and unique.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review by Travis Starnes
Combat Doctor was written by a Canadian doctor who served in one of the field hospitals in Afghanistan and details his experiences. I will say up front that I am really impressed by what these guys do and was really looking forward to reading this book. I have read several war memoirs from both support (medical, etc.) and front line soldiers and generally always enjoy these types of books.
This is essentially Dauphin’s thoughts on the war told in a series of events and anecdotes. There are some scenes that you can’t help but be affected by, such as the story near the beginning of the book about the guy trying to save his kids arm. As far as it being a glimpse into the world of the military field hospital, the book is brutally honest about what really happens to soldiers.
While the events can be moving the book as a whole is pretty inaccessible. It is jargon filled and some paragraphs feel more like a jumbling of letters then actual speech. I know the military loves its acronyms but when writing for a general audience the author should try and pull back on that a little bit. This book felt more like listening to the raw tapes of a military doctor talking then an edited work. There is no pacing in the stories and as a whole the book feels like it jumps all over the place.
Because of the way the story is told I found it very hard to connect with Dauphin. Yes his story is very moving, and I could see how if I talked to him in person the tale of his PTSD would get to me, but the emotion of his story just doesn’t translate well through the book.
This is one of those cases where a ghost writer should have stepped in and worked with Dauphin. In the hands of a skilled writer this could have been a riveting and emotional tale but as it is the book feels like an amateurish attempt at a memoir.