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Synopsis: Born into privilege and position, Doctor Fred Herter eschewed both, and battling the world on his own terms,winning some, losing some, and wrestling a few to a draw. He’s a man for all seasons, and why not? He’s lived through 368 of them without the slightest hint of slowing down. So here’s his fast-moving story, told with brutal candor and unfailing compassion, just as he lived it then and lives it today. The tale begins with his great-grandfather Charles Pratt, whose Midas-touch (and some help from John D. Rockefeller) parlayed a $100 investment into a $300,000,000 payoff! A brilliant sideline of his was the founding of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Pratt was the first free college in America, and it’s still thriving and flourishing today. But Fred Herter’s odyssey really began when Charles Pratt’s high-spirited granddaughter, Mary Caroline Pratt, met the serious and scholarly Christian Archibald Herter, thus launching the mercurial Pratt/Herter dynasty. Conjuring up highlights of a golden childhood in Boston amidst new friends, a highly competitive sibling, a luminous father entering a splendid political career, and the all-too-recognizable agonies and joys of puberty at St. Paul’s and its sequels at Harvard and Harvard Medical School, where Fred Pratt Herter, M.D. in a series of telling events, cemented his initial calling, namely that of always working with his hands. Along the way you’ll meed a national hero or two, beginning with Fred’s father. He was Eisenhower’s last but distinctive Secretary of State, President Richard Nixon, frozen with a dread of picking up the wrong fork, and Fred’s scintillating colleagues (revered and irreverent), who, together with Fred, transformed New York’s hospital scene. Dr. Herter’s uneven road, from callow intern at the Columbia/Presbyterian Hospital, to his stern, but always fair Chairmanship of the Department of Surgery, is both funny and fascinating. Forced to retire as a mere 65-year-old, Dr. Fred took it in stride. Unfazed by the unfairness, he hit the ground running and jumped, feet first, into his second, and even more illustrious career as an academic administrator, rising to become President of the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. While there, despite Civil War, bombings, and an appalling 135,000 combatants killed, he managed to keep AUB open and functioning. He also befriended President Nahran of the Emirate, Jordan’s King Hussein and Queen Noor, Prime Minister (and billionaire) Rafic Hariri, of Lebanon and U.S. Ambassador Richard Murphy! But Fred Herter’s dual and dynamic careers are not the heart and soul of this book. That will be found in the daily doses of warmth, wit and wisdom as the good doctor summons up the beautiful and bittersweet memories of the 33,150 days that began a brief 92 years ago. More than once, as you find a laugh in this rich memoir, you may need to brush away a sympathetic tear.

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Herter, Dr. Frederic P., Holland, Ron
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