We Were Cowboys
J.F. Lee, author
The American cowboy speaks of a bygone era when these Old West icons represented personal initiative, diligence, and industry. Coincidentally, surgical students of the fifties and sixties were in many ways similar to the American cowboy as they diagnosed and treated conditions and diseases they had never before seen such as gonorrhea, gunshot, and stab wounds. In a fascinating memoir filled with entertaining personal anecdotes, Dr. John Lee details his passage from a middle-class Irish Chicago neighborhood into the frenzied, pre-Institutional Review Board days of physicians’ training as determined students pursued their dreams, driven by personal initiative and, at times, grueling study habits. During a period when young surgeons enjoyed freedoms that helped define an era in medicine, Dr. Lee shares a rare glimpse into his daily routine as he built bonds with fellow students, found humor amid challenges, and cared for a variety of patients, all while riding the ups and downs of life as a surgical cowboy. We Were Cowboys shares the true story of a medical intern’s experiences as he endured the rigors of surgical training in the mid-twentieth century.