King of Hearts

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King of Hearts

The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open-heart Surgery

G. Wayne Miller, Patrick Cullen


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Few of the great stories of medicine are as palpably dramatic as the advent of open heart surgery, yet, until now, no one has brought to life all of the thrilling specifics of this triumph. G. Wayne Miller has dramatically and meticulously reconstructed the amazing true story of how a group of renegade Minnesota surgeons, led by Dr. Walt Lillehei, accomplished what many experts considered to be an impossible feat: he opened the heart, repaired fatal defects, and made the miraculous routine. Drawing on archival research and exclusive interviews with Lillehei and legendary pioneers such as Michael DeBakey and Christian Barnard, Miller takes readers into the lives of these brave doctors and patients as they risked reputations and lives to revolutionize health care.


G. Wayne Miller:

G. Wayne Miller is one of the most acclaimed journalists in New England. He is a staff writer at the Providence Journal, where he has won numerous journalism awards. He is also the author of a novel, Thunder Rise, and a number of highly acclaimed nonfiction books. He lives in Rhode Island and can be reached at