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The Special Field

A History of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins

"A great gift.... " Neurosurgery, December 2016

The cover of The Special Field


The Special Field is a lavishly illustrated and lively account of the history of Johns Hopkins neurosurgery, particularly its advances over the past 15 years as the institution continually redefines the fields of neurosurgical research, education and patient care.  

Modern neurosurgery is widely regarded to have been founded at Johns Hopkins, where a handful of brilliant surgeons first dared to undertake groundbreaking procedures for operating on the human brain. This is the story of how these complex individuals challenged the odds —  and sometimes, each other —  to define and advance a once primitive field of medicine, transforming it into a previously unimaginable specialty.

The Special Field follows Johns Hopkins’ neurosurgery to the 21st century and its emergence as one of the largest department of its kind in the world. The impact of its bold innovation, research and standard of care continues to reach far beyond its birthplace in Baltimore, inspiring neurosurgeons and scientists worldwide and offering hope for more and more patients.

The Special Field is intended for anyone with an interest in neurosurgery, medical history, science, human ingenuity —  and courage.

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"A well-detailed book that provides a historical overview not only of the development of neurosurgery but also the enormous contributions that Johns Hopkins would make to develop and solidify the field as its own unique specialty.... A great gift." --James Tait Goodrich, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sci.(Hon) in Neurosurgery. Read more.

"The Special Field: A History of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins by Neil A. Grauer is a comprehensive, well-written narrative of the history of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins by an authority on this subject matter.... [It] is is a comprehensive, easily readable, and entertaining book describing the development and evolution of one of the leading neurosurgery departments in the United States and the world."  --Narenda Nathoo, M.D., Ph.D. in World NeurosurgeryRead more.

About the Author

Neil A. Grauer is a third-generation graduate of The Johns Hopkins University who has written extensively about its many facets, from medicine to lacrosse.

He is currently senior writer in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications Department. Mr. Grauer’s freelance writings have appeared in American Heritage, Smithsonian, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and many other publications.

Among his eight previous books are Wits and Sages, a series of profiles and caricatures of top syndicated columnists; Remember Laughter: A Life of James Thurber; Centuries of Caring: The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Story; Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition, which was co-authored with Hopkins' coach David Pietramala; and Leading the Way: A History of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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