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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Swords and Saints: A Doctor's Journey by Robert Adams, MD is an utterly engaging memoir about the life of an ex-SEAL and Navy commander who decided to enter medical school on an Army scholarship as a career change. While Dr. Adams briefly discusses his prior Naval service, the focus is on his Army and civilian medical practices. Being older than his classmates when he started medical school, he brought life experiences as a seasoned officer to his years as a student and Army medical intern. Assigned afterward as a family practice physician with the 82nd Airborne and the DELTA Force Command Surgeon at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later establishing a civilian family medicine practice, Dr. Adams provides a perspective on his career from student to retirement through more than seventy short vignettes or stories.
The stories in Swords and Saints are skillfully written, well-paced, and understandable by readers with no or little medical knowledge. Some are inspirational. Some are educational. Some made me cry. You can imagine that Dr. Adams is speaking directly to you about the moments that shaped him as a physician. They reveal a straight-shooter who has the toughmindedness of a warrior, the logic of a scientist, and the heart of a healer. He gives due credit to those who mentored him and to the hard work and skill of nurses while not shying away from calling out questionable medical decisions and inadequate healthcare practices that he encountered along the way. This is a book that can appeal to a wide variety of readers because it touches on matters of health, stress, and medical management in both the military and civilian sectors which can affect us all. Highly recommended.