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The Contract Surgeon

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This beautifully written historical novel from one of the West's most popular writers tells the true story of the friendship between Valentine McGillicuddy, a young doctor plucked from his prestigious medical career and newly married wife to serve in the army during the Great Sioux War, and the great chief Crazy Horse. When Crazy Horse finally agrees to surrender to the Un ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 287 pages
Published December 31st 2006 by Center Point (first published November 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 141)
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George Copley
Written from the point of view (almost as if from a diary) of a doctor who attended the death of Crazy Horse and his remincing about the US Cavalry trials and tribulations of "keeping the West safe from Indians").. very informative and personal as the Doctor actually existed and did attend at the death of Crazy Horse.. an excellent read for anyone who wishes a sense of the past and of insight into the mind of a combatant....probably a good indicator of someone writing about PTSD and its' effect ...more
Gregg Bell
Ernest Hemingway, always uber-competitive with his fellow authors and known to often be mean to them, nevertheless lavished praise on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. That's how I feel about Dan O'Brien's The Contract Surgeon—I don't know how anyone couldn't say that this was a great book.

You get the best books at libraries' used book sales. If you like best sellers, the library's used book sale is where they'll unload not a few of their thirty copies of The DaVinci Code or what have you
...more
June
Incredible story that lead me to want to know more about Crazy Horse and McGillycuddy. It also once again made me sad for the way in which our country has mistreated America's First People and broken treaty after treaty with them. I will pursue other books by Dan O'Brien.
Jay
I really didn't need to join Goodreads to get recommendations for books I should read. I come from a long line of readers and I have done my best to pass that on to the next generation. I have parents, siblings, grandparents, children, and even further flung family that recommend books to me and, being the sort of person who wants to do what everyone else is doing, I try to read everything recommended to me. That doesn't even count the books that catch me eye at the library, or those that I see ...more
Val
I have never read a "Western" but picked this up at the famous WALL DRUG in the spring on my way to see the sights in South Dakota. It was a true story about the Army's Contract Surgeon, Valentine Mcgillycuddy and how he took care and tried to save Crazy Horse's life. Although there is a really good story line to the book. What was special to me as I read the book as I was going through South Dakota I could relate things I had just read to the places we were seeing! Wonderful trip with a wonderf ...more
Sue
This fascinating tale tells the story of the doctor who tries to save his friend, Crazy Horse, after he's bayoneted by a soldier. The action takes place during that day, but ranges far over the entire Sioux War as the doctor-narrator tells how he got there and why it's an important turning point for him. It's told with grace and style. (some language)
Brett
I wish this book were three times as long, fleshing out events only mentioned in passing
Cynthia
A very good book...again I learned a great deal about history! This is the 2nd book I've read by Dan O'Brien...wow...he's a good author! Again, what a great way to learn!
Meredith
An historical novel set during the Indian Wars tells about Valentine McGillicuddy - a contract surgeon, his wife, and his friendship with Crazy Horse.

One of my favorite books.
Jennifer
3.5 stars. It was a fairly interesting read, but I never could quite get into it. Hence, it took me two months to read it.
Frederick Bingham
The story of one surgeon's life on the frontier in the middle of the Sioux wars of the 1870's and 1880's.
Sue
What a wonderful book. As I read along, I was transported as if I were actually there. yum
Greynomad
excellent and I can add tears to my comments at the end of the book
Dorf
A slight novel, but not your typical cowboys and Indians.
Shannon
A haunting story that stays with you.
Mary Gunderson
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Jul 18, 2015
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Dan O'Brien is a writer and screenwriter. He currently attends a California university and is pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology. He has written over 10 novels, several screenplays and is working on a graphic novel. A philosopher and martial artist, his days are filled with writing and training.
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