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M. Gazi Yasargil: Father of Modern Neurosurgery is an account of a famous man’s unusual and inspiring life, particularly as a youth and young man in the first 138 pages of the book, long before he became a neurosurgeon.  Later, as a neurosurgeon he found a means of succeeding with high-risk brain operations, achieving mortality rates of less than two percent compared to the 30 percent prevalent in the 1960s. His method required not only an imaginatively redesigned microscope and a wide array of new surgical tools, but an entirely new way of thinking.

 By 1967 neurosurgeons flocked to Zurich from every corner of the planet to learn Yasargil’s secrets. While possessed of truly amazing surgical talent himself, his brand of microneurosurgery led even those of lesser ability to stunning results with regular laboratory practice.               

And Yasargil’s life and times were as dramatic and challenging as his exploits as a surgeon. Born in a cave in east Turkey to parents held captive by armed outlaws, he committed himself to studying medicine after being inspired by the death of an older brother in that very cave. At eighteen, he shocked his family by insisting on going to Vienna during World War II.  Denied admission to the university after being mistakenly identified as a Jew, he chose going into the heart of Germany over returning home in defeat. In Jena he bargained enrollment as a first year medical student.  From 1943 to 1945 he was harassed by Hitler’s police as a potential spy.  Headstrong, brimming with confidence, he had a bent for making his circumstances worse.  Even greater danger came in the form of bombs dropped from British and American aircraft.

 Although the narrative explores as much history and adventure as medical triumph, a glossary of medical terms renders the book accessible to general readers.


 
“An interesting, praise-worthy biography of a famous, praiseworthy man.”
 Duke Samson, M.D.
Chairman Emeritus
Department of Neurological Surgery
Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas

“There are many medical heroes of the past, but Larry Rogers has written a biography of a medical hero of our own time. Formerly Dr. M. Gasi Yasargil was known only in the higher echelons of neurosurgery. Thanks to this splendid biography, a work of both state of the art scientific scholarship and celebration, the public at large will be aware of Yasargil’s extraordinary career, his origins in rural Turkey, his many revolutionary advances in microsurgery, his generosity to other students of neurosurgery, his humanity and brilliance as a teacher. Deeply researched and thorough, cogently written, this biography is also a history of the field of neurosurgery in modern times. We are indebted to Dr. Yasargil for his many life-saving innovations, and to Dr. Rogers for this accomplished biography.” 
 
Robert Morgan
Author of Lions of the West


“Neurosurgeon and writer Larry Rogers has undertaken the incredible task of researching and writing a biography of the greatest neurosurgeon in our lifetime. With uncompromising honesty he describes the historical setting into which Gazi Ya┼čargil was born and lived. He vividly describes this neurosurgical iconoclast’s single-minded drive for excellence and unerringly captures his complex personality, which balances infinite surgical patience with an occasional uncontrollable outburst. Yasargil’s lifelong spirit of generosity is tempered with intense intolerance for anything less than neurosurgical perfection. Through many years of observing his surgical artistry and striving to emulate him, I am thrilled this book portrays the essence of this formidable neurosurgical giant. Reading it will enable legions to come to know him through his inspiring life story.”
 Robert F. Spetzler, MD
Director, Barrow Neurological Institute 
J. N. Harber Chair of Neurological Surgery Chair, Division of Neurological Surgery
Director,Neurological Research 

“This is an outstanding book on the life of the most respected and honored neurosurgeon of our time. Full and objective, it details Professor Yasargil’s journey, both in sunshine and shadow.”
Clark Watts, MD 
Former Editor of the journal, Neurosurgery

“Professor Yasargil taught a generation of neurosurgeons from around the world how to handle vital blood vessels and neural structures while remaining committed to preserving the functional brain tissue of every patient—no exceptions and no excuses.  But if you were not committed to his war on his patient’s pathology, you immediately became his enemy.  Neither did he suffer fools, or polite, inane questions or comments while at work!  Young men who managed to play by his rules were rewarded beyond their wildest dreams, and so were their patients.  This fine book tells his story, no holds barred.”
Vinko V. Dolenc, MD
Former Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center
Ljubljana, Slovenia

“A trainee of Gazi Yasargil’s in 1973, Larry Rogers, a former neurosurgeon himself and author of a well-received novel and a memoir of his experiences as an Army doctor in the Vietnam conflict, has produced a book from a series of interviews in the 1990s on the life and times of his teacher.  Professor Yasargil is one of the most renowned neurosurgeons of our time.  Rogers has captured the essence of this ambitious, driven, and at times, difficult man, who perhaps more than anyone else drove the development of microsurgical neuroanatomy and microneurosurgery as we know it today.  The book is very well written and easy to read.  It will be of interest, not only as a work of neurosurgical history, but to anyone drawn to the life story of a memorable human being.”  
Robert L. Grubb, Jr., MD
Professor Emeritus of Neurological Surgery and Radiology
Washington University in St. Louis

"Generations of neurosurgeons have been, and will continue to be, influenced by the teachings of Professor Yasargil. The passage of time will continue to immortalize his teachings and technical elegance. He will live in eternity through the practitioners of microsurgery and generations of patients who benefit from it.”  
Ketan. R. Bulsara MD
Director, Neuroendovascular and Skull Base Surgery
Yale Department of Neurosurgery

“This legendary surgeon’s massive efforts to transform his specialty are almost matched by the author’s attempt to present a balanced view of his life.  Every anecdote, observation, and detail exudes interest and humanity.  The scope of the narrative goes well beyond its focus—neurosurgery—making it not only important for the youth of neurosurgery, even all of medicine, but this book also seems accessible to general readers.  It succeeds in grand style.”
 
 William F. Pharr, MD
Former Director, Cardiovascular, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery
Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, PA)

“The operating microscope introduced by Professor Yasargil, has dramatically improved the outcomes with central nervous system surgery.  This book is a vivid, dynamic, and accurate account of this unusual man’s life and times. He has clearly transformed our specialty.”
 
Charles Sternbergh, MD
Chattanooga, Tennessee

“Larry Rogers has given the world the first biographical insight into the man who delivered neurosurgery into the modern era. Professor Yasargil altered the approach to complex neurosurgical procedures by virtue of his creative mind and unsurpassed technical skills. More importantly, he was relentless in his crusading for their widespread adoption across the globe. Rogers’ biography illuminates the complexity of the man and surgeon.” 
Richard Hodosh, MD
Past President, American Heart Association

Herodotus wrote his “Histories,”, the story of the Greco-Persian wars, “in the hope of thereby preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done, and preventing the great and wonderful actions ….. from losing their deemed of glory. “   Dr. Rogers has likewise chronicled the great deeds of Professor M. Gazi Yasargil.  Professor Yasargil is much more than a virtuoso neurosurgeon.  His writings describe original observation and his unique philosophy that serve as a basis for his practice of neurosurgery.   He was a generous teacher who profoundly influenced the careers of a lucky few who directly worked with him, and changed the neurosurgical practice of all who read his works.  Dr. Rogers has captured the Professor not only as a terrific neurosurgeon but as a very special human being.
 
Allan H. Friedman, M.D.
The Guy L. Odom Professor of Neurological Surgery
Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
Division of Neurosurgery/Department of Surgery
Duke University Medical Center