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The Oath

4.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  274 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Told with immediacy and heart, The Oath is the story of a brave physician's dedication to saving lives in the Russia-Chechnya conflict.
In 1991, when the political conflict between Chechen insurgents and the Russian army began, Khassan Baiev was a wealthy plastic surgeon. But when Russia began to bomb his country, Baiev gave up safety and security and opened a small hospit
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 21st 2003 by Random House of Canada, Limited (first published October 1st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 562)
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Mikey B.
Feb 05, 2016 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
A very telling first-hand account of what has been happening in Chechnya. The author grew up there and speaks his native language as well as Russian. He lived and studied in various parts of the Soviet Union. His life, until the break-up of the Soviet Union was even somewhat privileged; he became an athlete and then a medical doctor.

There were always undertones of discrimination because of his Chechen roots. This all literally exploded with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the break-up
Feb 08, 2010 Britta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure I would at first, but it was informative learning about Chechnya and the conflicts going on there in RECENT years and that are still going on. It opened my eyes to what is happening in the world, as sad as it is, and how lucky I am in so many ways. So many people in the world are just trying to live good lives and yet they are bombarded by war and other evils. I think Khassan is one of those good men and I have a lot of admiration and respect for him and ...more
Belle Blackburn
Mar 12, 2014 Belle Blackburn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and important true story of a surgeon operating under the worst of conditions in war torn Chechnya. War is always hell but the Russians definitely are the devil in this book, though he lays plenty of blame on the Chechans also. I knew precious little of this region beforehand and found the culture fascinating. By the end of the second war he was operating under the most primitive of conditions, using household thread when he could get it, and was appalled upon visiting an American ho ...more
Aug 25, 2016 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baiev is one of those rare breeds blessed with the bravery to carry himself through unimaginably grim circumstances. His story on its own is startling; however, what makes this book truly valuable is the rare insight it provides into Chechen culture and customs.
Sep 01, 2007 Johnsergeant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Narrated By: Robert O’Keefe

This unflinching account of one remarkable physician’s experiences during the conflict between Russia and its breakaway republic, Chechnya, is an instant classic of war literature. Weaving the history of the Chechnya conflict and the heritage of his own family into the visceral narrative, Dr. Baiev tells a tale that is shocking, heroic, and impossible to forget.
Aidmer Wainakh
Sep 20, 2011 Aidmer Wainakh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it's great book, emotional and very close to heart
Kurt Kemmerer
Sep 30, 2015 Kurt Kemmerer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly feel privileged to have read this book, to have met the author and hear him speak (at the Northwest Book Festival in October 2003). I know of no modern book that brings home the horrors that citizens face during war, while offering the inspiration of the human spirit to go on in the midst of it all, like "The Oath." Baiev's horrific, personal story is worth the read in itself. However, the perspective he brings to the conflict and its origins is incredibly vital to the world situation to ...more
John Brookes
“The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire” tells the story of Khassan Baiev, a cosmetic surgeon living in the town of Alkhan Kala whose life - along with that of the rest of the population of Chechnya – is turned upside down by several wars with Russia during the 1990s as a result of Chechnya’s declaration of independence.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechen-Ingush Soviet Republic was split into two: the Republic of Ingushetia and Republic of Chechnya. The latter proclaimed the Che
Joseph D. Walch
Apr 18, 2010 Joseph D. Walch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My wife and I listened to this book borrowed from the Utah county Library on a trip. It's the tale of Khassan Baiev who is a plastic surgeon turned trauma/combat surgeon during the Russian offensive in Chechnya. He was the target of Russian military as well as Islamic insurgents who suspected he was sympathetic to the Russians. At three points in his life he escaped death by a razor's margin; once when he was picked up at a checkpoint during his travels by contratniki--paid irregular Russian mil ...more
Jenny Grieve-laing
Apr 12, 2012 Jenny Grieve-laing rated it liked it
This is a strange book. It is a story of one surgeon's attempts to uphold the Hippocratic Oath by treating everyone who needs his help, Chechen and Russian, during the terrible conflicts in his homeland in the late 20th Century. As such it gives an horrific insight into war from the civilian and medical perspectives: the unrelenting and indiscriminate terror of snipers, bombing and kidnapping and the trauma and horror of trying to piece together broken bodies of men, women and children in the mo ...more
An absolutely amazing story of a surgeon in the Chechen war, who followed the Hippocratic Oath to the letter and treated whomever required his help - be they Chechen or Russian, military or civilian. As a result he was branded a traitor by both sides, and was threatened with execution on a number of occasions.

Parts of the book contain graphic descriptions of the conditions and operations Baiev performed in Chechnya.
Shelley Fearn
The Oath was mentioned at the end of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. It was just by chance that the library owned a copy. It has only been out 4 times since its purchase in 2003. That should give you a good idea of just how little interest there has been in Chechnya.

This is an important book. While it teaches a bit about Chechen history and traditions, it is best when it describes how one person can really make a difference (often at great cost to himself). If we all were a bit like Khassan
Dec 25, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met him and bought his book after he spoke with our surgical and ER dept at Oregon. Obviously a remarkable person and physician. I think the main things to learn from this autobiography are the overarching authority and cruelty of the Soviet system in those days and the other-worldliness of the Chechyn culture in which he was raised. I think we all know what a cruel and terrible system the Soviets and now the Russians perpetuate in these indigenous areas but we should also know that Chechyna i ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Cookie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from a friend who was shocked when I wanted to read it, especially considering the fact that she was giving it to me with a fictional story of a girl in high school; the two books did not go hand-in hand, to say the least.
What did I know about Chechnya before reading this book? Absolutely NOTHING! What I learned is invaluable and unbelieveable. Dr. Baiev's belief in the Hippocratic Oath allowed him to help all that needed it during both of the Russian-Chechan Wars (1994-199
Dec 19, 2014 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book after I finished the excellent A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and this book was mentioned as a reference to that one. Even after learning a lot about Chechnya from A Constellation, I wanted to know more. After reading this book I feel like I know a lot more about Chechen culture and the history of their struggle for independence.
Nov 13, 2014 sabeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have even the slightest bit of interest in Chechnya I would highly recommend this book. There is very little written about Chechnya by Chechens and this book was written by a surgeon who lived and worked in Chechnya during both wars. This book gives you a human perspective into war, Chechen culture, history and the fragility of peace. I also deeply respected the writer sharing vulnerable aspects of his experience that would normally be considered shameful for a Chechen to disclose, it hel ...more
The Idiot
Sep 09, 2014 The Idiot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging. Informative.
Feb 23, 2009 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well planned book that sets the stage clearly. It's difficult to get into it only because the atmosphere, names and culture are foreign, but once the reader understands the viewpoint of the author, it's easier to read. It is amazing what people will do to each other, and the lives these people were forced to lead show how strong humans can be. The only criticism I have is that it seems one-sided. Then again, it is told from a singular point of view. If I could give it another 1/2 star, ...more
Lisa Swett
Jun 21, 2016 Lisa Swett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intense. Sure gives a different perspective of the problems they have.
Jonathan Bennett
What a read!

A story graphically showing the reality of war which liturally reaches out from the pages, grabs you by the collar and drags you kicking and screaming through page tourning drama and action.

A brilliantly written book about a side of a war that is not often heard. What makes this better than just a history lesson is there is a story behind it and characters you really endear to.
Feb 05, 2016 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiography of a Chechen Surgeon, whose dedication to his people and his profession, only deserves tremendous respect and admiration. He breaks all stereotypes in that war stricken part of the world and restores faith in humanity. Now, years after he wrote this book, he is able to go back to Chechnya for several months out of the year and operate on the children free of charge.
Jan 14, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steven Sinclair is a caring, careful OB/GYN but now he's being sued by a couple who's child was born with serious birth defects. Charlie Mayfield is the prosecutor who must prove that Dr. Sinclair was at fault. If you love legal novels a whole lot, this one is probably a good one for you. I didn't find it as thrilling as the cover implied, but I never considered not finishing it either…
Oct 27, 2009 Hans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book. Gives both a good historical take of one man's struggle through the Russo-Chechnyan War and illustrates just how much good one devoted man can accomplish even when faced with the most horrifying of circumstances. Khassan's story is reminiscent of Paul Farmer's in Haiti and, if you enjoyed Mountains Beyond Mountains, is a must read.
I really liked this book but got bored at the end (I still haven't read the last 20 pages, and I might not ever get to it). This book is about the war in Chechnya, which is especially interesting to me since I lived in Russia while this was going on. It was very educational and kept my interest most of the time. I would recommend it.
Chris Coppola
Jan 28, 2010 Chris Coppola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got to communicate with Dr. Khasan Baiev, a chechen surgeon who worked during the two conflicts with Russia. He actully moved to Boston as a politocol refugee: His willingness to treat any patient, often put him in danger. His book is an incredibly gripping account of operating even under personal danger.
Oct 30, 2008 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little slow at first, but once I got into it, it was an interesting read. It was from a Chechney doctor perspective during their wars with Russia. The time frame is the 90s, but while you are reading it, it feels more like this could only have happened in the early 1900s.
Nov 13, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an incredible book. It's another one of those biographies/memoirs that leave you completely amazed at what some people are able to endure. It was really interesting to learn more about the history of Chechnya and also the Chechen-Russian conflict.
Oct 25, 2009 Sabah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply horrifying tale of what life was truly like in Chechnya for a surgeon and Muslims from his rural village in the brutal years of the Russian War. Not for the faint of heart. It was co-written, but the writing style is still relatively simple.
Aug 22, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not for the faint of heart. I picked it up from a random bookshelf at work on a random day when I had nothing else to read. I LOVED it. This is the true story of a real HERO! What a story and it happened within 20 years! A must read!
Tim Painter
Feb 12, 2008 Tim Painter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Another sad look into what war does to countries and the efforts of one man to save as many of those people as possible. Very poignant in the telling.

This book gives the Chechyna side of the story of the war between Russia and Chechyna.
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