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The Contract Surgeon

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  124 Ratings  ·  17 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 2nd 2001 by Mariner Books (first published November 1st 1999)
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George Copley
Aug 23, 2012 George Copley rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 16, 2012 June added it
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.
Gregg Bell
Jul 28, 2014 Gregg Bell rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Aug 02, 2009 Val rated it liked it
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
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)
Mark Valentine
Mar 15, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the character's in this novel (not just because of McGillicuddy's first name!). It exhibited a respect for the era, the tone was intelligent, I thought the plot was accurate and engaging. It is not the standard, formula issue western novel.

O'Brien has such a good touch with the pen that I thought I was in the moment in the age. That is good writing!

Jul 20, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-books
What a wonderful book. As I read along, I was transported as if I were actually there. yum
Oct 04, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sioux-city, here
A very good book...again I learned a great deal about history! This is the 2nd book I've read by Dan O''s a good author! Again, what a great way to learn!
Chris Connor
May 10, 2016 Chris Connor rated it it was amazing
This book picks up where Little Big Horn left off. How the Sioux escaped, defended and went on to lose their war with Crazy Horse as a revered and hated leader.
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.
Jan 01, 2008 Dorf rated it really liked it
A slight novel, but not your typical cowboys and Indians.
Jul 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 22, 2009 Meredith rated it it was amazing
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.
Patrick Callaghan
Patrick Callaghan rated it really liked it
Nov 27, 2010
Scott rated it it was amazing
May 24, 2010
Jane rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2017
Theresa Spencer
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Mar 23, 2013
Crystal rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2013
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Nov 20, 2013
J. rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2010
Deborah Love
Deborah Love rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2015
Griffin_carruthers rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2014
Frances rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2008
Apr 30, 2014 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6th-book-project
I wish this book were three times as long, fleshing out events only mentioned in passing
Barry rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2016
mdl rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2016
Lucy Fagan
Lucy Fagan rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2016
Stephanie rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2012
Connie Milton
Connie Milton rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2009
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Dan O'Brien was born Daniel Hosler O'Brien in Findlay Ohio on November 23, 1947. He attended Findlay High School and graduated in 1966. He went to Michigan Technological University to play football and graduated with a BS degree in Math and Business from Findlay College in 1970 where he was the chairman of the first campus Earth Day. He earned an MA in English Literature from the University of Sou ...more
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