Promises Kept by Jerold Lee Watts, M.D.


Promises Kept, a Southern Surgeon's reflections of mid twentieth-century medicine. was a joy to read. I am a lover of history, and this book is set in Atlanta, my adopted home city. Atlanta is replete with stories from the past and it has a rich heritage. It's a beautiful city that still holds some stately southern mannerisms. During the time Dr. Watts is writing about, beginning in the 1960's, Atlanta was in a state of flux. Segregation was coming to an end all across the country and Atlanta was feeling the growing pains. Dr. Watts does a very nice job with his vignettes, putting a historical reference in perspective. Throughout the book he is detailed about the work he was learning, detailed about the people he was meeting, and detailed about the impact both had on him. He writes with a self-depricating sense of humor that I appreciated. I took my time reading this book because it felt like a book that wanted time to be absorbed.

Some of the treasures of the book are the many pictures that Dr. Watts includes to give the reader a visual to go along with the places and sometimes people he describes. Dr. Watts book is written for the layman, and is not couched in medical-speak, and where unfamiliar terms present, he does a nice job of explaining without making the reader feel deficient for a lack of comprehension. If you have a passing interest in medicine, or if you'd just like to take a trip to a past era, this is a great book for you.

Dr. Watts has a second book, Military Medicine and the Cold War, which I have not yet read, but look forward to picking up.


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