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Breathtaking (Paperback)Rachel Clarke (author)
From the bestselling author of former Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month Dear Life, Breathtaking is a compassionate, heartbreaking and compelling account of an NHS doctor in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in living memory.
How does it feel to confront a pandemic from the inside, one patient at a time? To bridge the gulf between a perilously unwell patient in quarantine and their distraught family outside? To be uncertain whether the protective equipment you wear fits the science or the size of the government stockpile? To strive your utmost to maintain your humanity even while barricaded behind visors and masks?
Rachel is a palliative care doctor who looked after the most gravely unwell patients on the Covid-19 wards of her hospital. Amid the tensions, fatigue and rising death toll, she witnessed the courage of patients and NHS staff alike in conditions of unprecedented adversity. For all the bleakness and fear, she found that moments that could stop you in your tracks abounded. People who rose to their best, upon facing the worst, as a microbe laid waste to the population.
Her new book, Breathtaking, is an unflinching insider's account of medicine in the time of coronavirus. Drawing on testimony from nursing, acute and intensive care colleagues - as well as, crucially, her patients - Clarke argue that this age of contagion has inspired a profound attentiveness to - and gratitude for - what matters most in life.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 213 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 22 mm
'If you're wondering whether to turn the page and read it, my message is simple: please do' - Michael Rosen
'A searing insider's account of being a doctor during the tsunami of coronavirus deaths ... It says everything about her character that Clarke refuses to settle for despair, focusing on the human decency she has seen' - Independent
'Clarke has written the UK's human story of Covid. Weaving together stories of patients, families, nurses, doctors and paramedics as the virus spread from New Year's Day to the end of April 2020. She reveals the desperate times and the government's mistakes but also how people from all walks of life - inside the NHS and out - have tried to reach out and show goodness to one another' - Stylist
'Powerful, uplifting and even reassuring ... Clarke's tone is more intimate, much of the book written at night when she couldn't sleep for fear, fury and frustration - the last two she attributes largely to the inadequacies and lies of politicians. Rage lurks beneath many paragraphs as she lambasts the delays in decisions, and the "number theatre" of statistics. You get the sense of someone trying to remain calm and reasoned, often on the verge of being overcome ... superb' - Madeleine Bunting * Guardian *
'Clarke is a superb storyteller as well as a clear-eyed polemicist ... she writes with such compassion and humanity that you feel you are in the room ... Clarke is certainly on the side of the angels and she has produced much more than a snapshot. Breathtaking is a beautiful, blistering account of a key moment in our history. If I were Boris Johnson, I wouldn't want to read it' - Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times
'Her mood on these final pages is sad but proud and grateful at the way in which the NHS has triumphantly come through the greatest challenge in seventy years' - The Mail on Sunday
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Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor who worked in covid wards to look after the most unwell patients during the first wave. Rachel’s personal account , being in the eye of the storm represents every health... More
Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy.
I was very much impressed with Dear Life, Rachel's first book and this second is equally as good a read.
They are both raw and delicate accounts of life... More
“Another worthwhile read from Rachel Clarke”
How anyone could manage providing front-line medical care during lockdown, a career in palliative care, raising a family and writing a book at the same time is beyond my imagination, but Rachel Clarke has managed to... More
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