Daly Walker’s Surgeon Stories is a book of the body, and the physician, particularly the surgeon, is the shaman of the body. For many of us, the physician-surgeon has been the body’s personal champion and sometimes savior in the face of disease, accident, aging, human violence, and war. While most of these categories of threat are inevitably faced by all of us, war is the ultimate ogre, and its ravages dwarf and challenge even the most skilled physician.
Walker is both a surgeon and a Vietnam veteran, and he writes powerful stories about life and death. This artful collection compels us to consider the power of war as it slices through both the body and the sense of self. His two book-end stories spotlight the failure of generation after human generation to end wars, but they also illumine the ability of the shaman, while flawed like every human, to open wide the doors of compassion.