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Reviews and Other News

U.S. News and World Report
"Life in a Burn Unit" link

Cape Cod Times
"Trial by Fire: an Orleans writer explores the history of burn treatment and explains why there's reason for hope." link

Permanent link, reproduced with permission from the Cape Cod Times:


“Burn Unit is a well-written, ingenious book. ...It should become required reading....”—New England Journal of Medicine

“Ms. Ravage, a medical journalist, has written a fascinating history of burn treatment ranging from the bizarre ointments used by the ancients to state-of-the-art techniques like skin grafts, pigskin dressings, silicone film and other skin substitutes. Interwoven through the text are scenes from the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the world's best, where the author followed two horribly burned men and the medical team that cared for them.”—The New York Times

“A fascinating and unflinching look behind the scenes at the nationally acclaimed burn unit of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. ...Ravage is never gratuitously graphic, and she displays solid research and reporting skills in presenting the historical and the personal side of burn injuries. She provides an excellent historical context to the development of burn treatments, from Boston’s infamous Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942 through last year’s fire at a Rhode Island music club. This is an enlightening look at an important area of hospital care.”—Publishers Weekly

“A riveting and unforgettable account of burn wound history, therapy, and healing; highly recommended. ...”—Library Journal (starred review)

“It was a pleasure to review Barbara Ravage’s Burn absolute delight to read, in clear, vivid language such as is all too rare in medical writing. ...Ravage makes it real and understandable, which was a great comfort to read and...right on the mark. ...One of the clear strengths of the book is the manner in which burns and their care are described in an eminently readable form to anyone, regardless of training or background. The author’s descriptions are palpable and real. ...I can recommend this book without reservation.”—Nature Medicine

“...a thorough look at an unsung medical specialty...[that has] more to do with hope than with sadness. Ravage's narrative, which she consistently wraps around solid science, begins in 1942, when a fire tore through a Boston nightclub called the Cocoanut Grove. ... Ravage has chosen to focus on two patients who were treated at Mass General in recent years, and she follows their long journey from injury to eventual recovery. The case of Dan O'Shea, and Ravage's retelling of it, is particularly painful and evocative. [She] paints an equally vivid portrait of the burn unit staff.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Burn Unit sizzles. When you find Burn Unit don't automatically walk away in search of light romance or a good but bloodless murder. Author Barbara Ravage...doesn't concentrate on pain and horror, but paints a positive picture of the amazing work done by the magicians who work in the burn unit at Mass General Hospital in Boston.”—Marietta (Georgia) Times

“Amid sensitive, sometimes graphic portrayals of the lives and near-death experiences of two burn victims...and moving portraits of burn unit staffers, Ravage recounts historic fire tragedies and traces the variety of treatment options often employed in the quest to treat and understand the full scope of fire injuries.”—Booklist

“If you like TV’s ER, you’ll love Ravage’s book about the riveting inside look at the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. ...Ravage describes both the human drama and engrossing scientific exploration of this little-publicized field of medicine.”—ScienceWriters

Burn Unit is well worth the read.”—Curled Up With a Good Book

“I found myself quite captivated by the book and the information it contains. ... Everyone will find something of interest in this book. Ms Ravage's appreciation of the issues involved in the treatment of burns is spot-on and bang up to date. ...I haven't had such a good read from a burn book for a long time. I recommend it to you all.”—Burns: Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries

“How fire kills is often surprising; how modern medicine can bring its victims back from the brink of what was once certain death is astounding. Burn Unit reads like a medical thriller, a true-life murder mystery that uncovers this fascinating medical specialty.”—Jessica Sachs, author of Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death

Burn Unit is a compelling blend of science, history, and storytelling. Barbara Ravage has fashioned an enlightening, invaluable book.”—Stewart O’Nan, author of The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy

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Burn Unit
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oooo-About the author
oooo-Author Q+A
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