Behind The Mask Reviews


I just finished reading this fascinating book about surgeons and surgery. It really appealed to me, since I am a nurse and work in the operating room. Dr. Gelber certainly is respectful of nurses and clearly explains their vital importance in the proper care of patients. The chapter "Don't Think" zeros in on nurses and their role as patient advocate, as well as being the eyes and ears of the doctor.

The book as a whole is well written and easy to read, but definitely not oversimplified. Anyone that works in surgery or cares for surgical patients will enjoy it and learn some things about the surgeon's mind and thought processes that they would never have suspected. Dr. Gelber presents his failures alongside his successes and talks about how he has learned from both.

Some chapters are humorous and a few don't really have much to do with surgery, but they still were pretty funny. I recommend that anyone that is interested in surgery as a nurse, tech, doctor or patient read this book. *****5 stars

Cat Manzi RN from

Dr. David Gelber, author of "ITP Future Hope" and "Joshua and Aaron ITP Book II", has decided to come back to our dimension and to our reality with "Behind the Mask" which I consider to be a great book compiling stories about surgery, punctuated at times with anecdotes, true feelings and observations of a man who day after day, goes into an operating room to save people's lives.

"Behind the mask" is superbly written, allowing the reader to become somewhat of a "voyeur" into a world where only those initiated in the art are allowed. This is not Hollywood. Though it tends to be somewhat technical in some parts, the reader without a medical background looses nothing in translation. You will enjoy the journey into Dr. Gelber's world and will come out with a better understanding of you as a patient, and hopefully a better appreciation for those who practice the art of surgery and their committment to saving lives. Beautifully done. ***** 5 stars 

Denise Jarbath from

I love this book!

Dr. Gelber opens up as a surgeon and a human being, allowing us access into that mysterious realm the lay-person avoids like the plague--the doctor's world. Never dry, this book kept me interested all the way. I recognize little memoir moments which gave me a peek into this doctor's particular view of his profession--how to make it better, how to "do no harm"--and at the same time, I learned more than I ever thought I would about surgery and everything attached to this field. I also gobbled up the author's appreciation for the patient as an individual... after you read this, you're going to wish that David Gelber was your personal physician.

It is an easy, quick read, and David's humor kept me turning the pages. I bought one for my mother (the daughter of a doctor and RN), who in turn grabbed it up for her doctor brothers.

You can't miss if you like non-fiction that teaches and entertains at the same time. Loved it, truly *****5 stars and

Ellen C. Maze, author "Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider"

Do not be deterred by the cold medical cover or the fear of multisyllabic medical lingo, this book is a little gem and a must read.

It’s amazing how clear the writing is, how concise the phrases are and how interesting it all is. It’s hard to think a book about surgeons could be a page turner, but it truly is. In particular I enjoyed the chapter called The Villain, which deals mainly with post-operative infections and how the doctors have managed throughout the ages to combat them. There are so many interesting facts.

I learned, for example, about an organ I’d never heard about that protects our abdominal cavities, wrapping itself around our injuries like a blanket to keep infections from spreading further. That is just one example of the myriad of facts I gleamed from this book.
If you are like me, and non-fiction is not your first choice, I urge you to not turn this book aside; it is well worth your time. You just might learn something, I know, the horror!


Unique insite into what makes a surgeon. A very revealing and educational story about an art that is being lost to modern times. Lets you put yourself into his feelings about what, why and how he deals with situations. Loved the book, looking forward to the next adventure. *****5 stars

Gail Reynolds RN, operating room nurse

Dear David, thank you very much for sending me the manuscript of still another book of yours. I found out, this time, that I have not been invited to share the lives of imaginary characters that filled the pages of the captivating fiction of your first two books. Rather, in this-your most recent book-you promised to “take the readers on a journey through the mind of a surgeon” and you were true to that promise.

You started by recognizing that it would be sheer arrogance for surgeons to claim that, through their art, they could “alter God’s creation for nobler purposes” and you reminded the readers that the “star” in the hospital, the consultation office or in the operating room should always be the patient.

Rejecting arrogance permits the surgeon to recognize his/her fallibility and the objective humility that physicians should have in their practices. After all, notes Dr. Gelber pathologists found out in their autopsies that the diagnosis of the deceased patients was incorrect in almost 60% of the cases! Such admissions, in objective humility, must certainly be the moving factor for surgeons to improve on their diagnostic acumen.

You then took the readers through what it takes to form and train surgeons in the US.

Then came what would be perhaps the most interesting part of your book especially to aspiring surgeons or surgeons in training. I mean by this your clear descriptions of a number of surgical conditions along with the challenges that a surgeon may have to confront in their management. The way you presented those surgical stories may be of great use to medical students, surgical residents and even, in some cases, to practicing surgeons. I would also greatly encourage medical students to read your book if they have the least inclination to pursue a surgical career because of the didactic way by which you presented the keys to surgical success, and the detective like challenge that you utilized to arrive at the most efficient way needed in the management of complicated cases. This would certainly stimulate the inclination of young men and women to choose a surgical career. It may be also important to note that your experience as a writer of fiction and non fiction as well as your gifts as a “raconteur” rendered your case histories fascinating to all readers.

This great book of yours should also be made available to patients and their relatives in order to better understand what the best surgeon may achieve and what could simply be impossible to reach.

Your description of the evolving advances that surgery may offer along with the development of modern tools makes very interesting reading and offers hope to the readers.

I also have to congratulate you for insisting on the great role of nurses in the management of patients. You used your own experience to assert that “an experienced critical nurse who understands the deranged physiology of the ICU patients can make a difference between complete recovery and death”. Your use of Dag Hammarskjold [1] quotation that was made before ICU care became an important specialty reaffirms the importance of nurses in all ages. Hammarskjold simply noted that “constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.” 

Your section on death and dying as well as that on suffering and the need to have optimal pain control add to the value of your great book.

I wish you great success in the distribution of your book

Jailane joins me to send you and Laura our best wishes and all our affection

Warmest regards,


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