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Tragedy, Trials and Triumphs: Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Australia in the 20th Century

285 x 210 mm, 304 pages, 153 photos, April 2017

ISBN 9780994562760, $49.95, Hardcover

Alan Donald Hewson

Available: September 2017

Alan Hewson’s book is exceptional. It is written in an engaging style and is outstandingly researched. It will become a sought-after standard text for years to come. The author’s insider knowledge and long term involvement at all levels of the medical profession has considerably enhanced his understanding and interpretation, and yet the book remains thoroughly objective, focused and remarkably honest. It fills an important gap in the literature, and provides valuable and vivid insights into the current challenges that face the profession, together with the possibilities of solutions.

John Ramsland, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Newcastle

Alan Hewson rose from a humble background to become one of the most influential of his generation, and achieved national prominence in both his discipline of obstetrics and the wider medical community, demonstrated by his achievements and the list of honours he has received over the years.

His retirement provided the opportunity to embark on a Research PhD covering the history of obstetrics and gynaecology in Australia in the 20th century, which has now been expanded into a book. It contains myriad little-known facts on the revolution in his discipline during the 20th century, which saw childbirth in Australia change from the dreadful, dangerous and frightening experience of the 19th century into the cocooned safety of today, where Australia is now the safest place in the world to bear a child.

The author weaves his own 60-year journey in obstetrics into the national narrative, to provide a fascinating read. The reader will not only learn a great deal about the science and art of obstetrics, but also about the confronting personal issues faced by every conscientious obstetrician during the 20th century.