AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: The Bodies Keep Coming by Brian H Williams
Trauma surgeon Dr. Brian H. Williams has seen it all—gunshot wounds, stabbings, traumatic brain injuries—and ushers us into the trauma bay, where the wounds of a national emergency amass. As a Harvard-trained physician, he learned to keep his head down and his scalpel ready. As a Black man, he learned to swallow rage when patients told him to take out the trash.
Just days after the tragic police shootings of two Black men, he tried to save the lives of officers shot in the deadliest incident for US law enforcement since 9/11. Thrust into the spotlight in a nation that loves feel-good stories more than hard truths, he came to rethink everything he thought he knew about medicine, injustice, and what true healing looks like.
Now, in raw, intimate detail, he narrates not only the events of that night, but the grief and anger of a Black doctor on the front lines of trauma care. Working in the physician-writer tradition of Gawande and Tweedy, he diagnoses the roots of the violence that plagues us. He draws a through line between white supremacy, gun violence, and the bodies he tries to revive, training his surgeon's gaze on the structural ills manifesting themselves in his patients' bodies. What if racism is a feature of our healthcare system, not a bug? What if profiting from racial inequality is exactly what it's designed to do? Black and brown bodies will continue to be wracked by all types of violence, Williams argues, until we transform policy and law with compassion and care.
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