PPG-2266: A Surgeon's War
Contributor: Dan K.
Review Date: 11 May 2008
I picked this book up at a military flea market couple of weeks ago. Apparently Amosoff was a famous heart surgeon from the Soviet Union who found his own war-time diary and decided to have it published.
The book is a very interesting memoir (diary). It starts off with the author as a small town resident doctor. With orders, he was formed into a 200-bed PPG, or mobile evacuation unit, as the Chief Surgeon. When they left for the front, they were horse drawn, and would stay that way for 90% of the war. The author describes setting up various hospitals in buildings or what is left of them. He also talks about seeing the Soviet Army in defeat and about what the soldiers look like while on the long retreats. After going through Moscow during the retreat and setting up yet again, he describes various techniques that the doctors learned or had to learn due to the number of wounded coming in. After Stalingrad had taken place, the Soviet forces began to be on the offensive; Amosoff's unit went through destroyed villages and towns behind the advancing front lines, setting up and handling the wounded. Their small hospital was upgraded to 600 beds. The author talks about always being overwhelmed with wounded; he always noted how many soldiers they treated at each location before moving on.
This war-time diary was written truthfully, with stories that included bad surgery, leaving the wounded to move on and knowing that most will not survive, and partisan reprisals. He did not see a lot of battles as they were just behind the lines.
PPG-2266: A Surgeon's War is not a bad book and one can see the amount of wounded that one small hospital had to suffer.
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