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Vietnam-era doctor from Salisbury tells his story

Dr. Larry Rogers will be in Salisbury Saturday to sign copies of his book “Sword and Scalpel: A Doctor Looks Back at Vietnam.”

He’s earned praise from retired Brigadier General James E. Shelton, U.S. Army, author of “The Beast Was Out There,” who wrote “Dr. Rogers has written one of the most exciting books about war I have ever read … Buy it and read it now. You will never forget it.”

The memoir details Rogers’ life and experiences as he volunteered to serve as a medical doctor in Vietnam during the most intense phase of fighting — the days and months leading up to the infamous Tet Offensive. Slogging through streams and jungle, he and his colleagues weathered not only firefights and rockets attacks, but scorpions and deadly snakes.

But he also experienced stunning medical triumphs, including returning life to a soldier left for dead in a makeshift morgue and resuscitating another by hastily rigging a defibrillator from an auxiliary generator and strips of radio-antenna wire. It has been called a riveting portrait of survival and healing during a time of war.

Rogers is a Salisbury native who left the city in 1953 at age 14. His father was the longtime band director at Boyden (now Salisbury) High School in the 1940s. He practiced neurosurgery in Charlotte for 27 years after attending Davidson College and Duke University Medical School. He has been retired since 2001 to write books and coach high school football in Charlotte. The father of five is author of 25 scientific articles, author-collaborator of a neurosurgical textbook, co-editor of another, and a novelist, producing “Against the Grain,” a 2008 story of 1980s brain surgery, which is still available from most online vendors.

Another retired brigadier general, who was also the former chief of neurosurgery at University of Missouri writes, “Simultaneously entertaining and serious, ‘Sword and Scalpel’ is clearly an important book.” Dr. Clark Watts is editor of the journal Neurosurgery.

Rogers will be at Literary Bookpost & Just the Thing Nov. 1 from 1-3 p.m.

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