The author explains why and how he decided to write this book. He says the idea of writing something that would bring the lived experience of doctors at war closer to the general public was originally broached by a high-ranking medical officer, who had been instrumental in helping to secure permission for the author's deployment to Afghanistan. The officer had read one of the author's previous books, The Last Amateurs, and wanted him to come up with a similar work about rear-located medical personnel. There was quite clearly a sense that a candid account of the everyday experience of combat surgical teams would be a welcome addition to the war literature. The result is a candid narrative that chronicles the commitment and fearlessness of the doctors and nurses at the field hospital “who have strong enough stomachs to mop up what we destroy.”
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