Alumni in Print

Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland: A Memoir of the Wangensteen Era

Henry Buchwald’57

University of Minnesota Press, 2020

In his memoir, Dr. Buchwald masterfully recounts a golden era in American surgery. Told through the eyes of a young doctor learning from a trailblazing great, “Surgical Renaissance in the Heartland” tells the story of Dr. Buchwald’s formative years practicing under the innovative Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen at the University of Minnesota’s medical school. The memoir recalls an era that laid the foundations of open-heart procedures, heart and pancreas transplantation, bariatric surgery, implantable infusion pump therapies, and other medical milestones. The publisher calls the book as entertaining as it is informative, effectively conjuring the character—and characters—of a time that changed medicine and the lives of millions.


To Heal the World: My Life in Medicine, Poetry, and Public Health

Norbert Hirschhorn’62, 2020

By pioneering oral rehydration therapy, which effectively treated the dehydration imposed by cholera and other diarrheal diseases, Dr. Hirschhorn contributed to work that saved an estimated 50 million lives. His memoir begins with a note of thanks to his teachers, and a quote from the late Allan Rosenfield’59, longtime dean of the Mailman School of Public Health: “Remember to challenge traditional thinking, look at problems from different angles, ask questions, be compassionate, and stand up for what you know is right. Know that you have the power to effect change.” So what’s left for the man commended for his work by President Bill Clinton as an “American Health Hero”? Poetry. His memoir can be downloaded free from his website.


The Laughing Brain: A Hierarchy of Humor by Mental and Neural Levels

David V. Forrest’64, 2020


Recent neurological studies have indicated that certain dementias can degrade one’s sense of humor over time. Those findings inspired a new book by Dr. Forrest that highlights his investigation into neurological impairments and their relationship with the “hierarchy of humor,” introducing a new way to think about the mind and brain based on the demands made by different types of humor. “The Laughing Brain” explores two pressing questions: What is funny and how can it help us understand what is important about dementia? Dr. Forrest delivers the hopeful message that a sense of humor can create connections for dementia patients and their loved ones, even when other capacities for communication are impaired.


Hemorrhage (2018)

Deadly Bargain (2019)

Hacked to Death (2020)

Peter Budetti’70

From Dr. Budetti come three novels that feature a young cyber sleuth, Will Manningham. In “Hemorrhage,” the sleuth and the FBI are pitted against the Russian mob, a criminal network of shady doctors, and corrupt U.S. officials. Together, they must unravel a massive conspiracy to steal billions in medical care dollars and leave unsuspecting patients for dead. In the sequel, “Deadly Bargain,”

Dr. Matthew McDonald’s surgical patients are dying, but their autopsies do not reveal what killed them. Can Manningham and the FBI save others from the same grisly fate? In the third book of the series, “Hacked to Death,” Manningham has only a few weeks until the final votes are cast to unravel the links between a series of mysterious deaths and the desperate Russian efforts to reelect their close ally Hugo H. Dorzel as president of the United States.


Microbes: The Life-Changing Story of Germs

Phillip K. Peterson’70

Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

In exploring the story of germs, Dr. Peterson’s book tells both sides: that they are at once critically important for our health and they continue to wreak havoc around the world. Dr. Peterson tracks our understanding of germs throughout history, from early plagues and pandemics to the present day of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and coronavirus. The book also addresses contemporary issues, including the importance of vaccinations and the rise of cutting-edge health treatments such as fecal transplants. The publisher says “Microbes” explains for general readers where these germs came from, what they do to and for us, and what can be done to stop the bad ones and foster the good ones.


Broke: Patients Talk About Money with Their Doctor

Michael Stein’85

University of North Carolina Press, 2020

In “Broke,” Dr. Stein speaks to the troubling correlation between wealth and wellness, between poverty and poor health. Through a series of intimate vignettes, he recalls conversations with patients that explore their struggles, their resiliency, and the impact that financial challenges commonly impose on their ability to acquire appropriate medical care. “Broke” is a quietly passionate critique of a country that has grown callous to the plight of the poor, the tens of millions of people in the United States who live below the poverty line and who have no obvious path to security. Full of heartbreaking and surprising details and framed by a wry, knowing, and empathic humor, no other book illuminates the experience of people facing economic hardship in this way.


Fragile: Beauty in Chaos,Grace in Tragedy, and the Hope that Lives in Between

Shannon Sovndal’00

Gyrfalcon Press, 2020

Dr. Sovndal was confident and motivated—and felt invincible—when he started medical school, but he admits that he had no clue. Nothing could prepare him for the harsh reality of being a compassionate human and working as an ER doctor. His memoir examines the tenuous balance between trying to compartmentalize the trauma of tragedy while also preserving his own humanity. “Fragile” pulls back the curtain on the ER, a place where Dr. Sovndal learned that universal truths about the human condition can be discovered if one pauses long enough to take a breath. His memoir is about trying to reconcile the beautiful and horrific tension that makes life so fragile and opening up to appreciate life’s most precious moments.


Parenting in a Pandemic: How to help your family through COVID-19

Kelly Fradin’10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for everyone, parents not least of all. As a pediatrician and child advocate, Dr. Fradin offers a helpful guide that promises relief for those trying to avoid burnout and maintain a functional household in the midst of a global pandemic. The mother of two offers practical, evidence-based, and reassuring advice, whether parents are caring for a newborn, taking the lead on virtual schooling, or dealing with an unruly teenager. With Dr. Fradin’s strategies in hand, parents can go forward with confidence as they lead their family through difficult times.