Book Review, Royal College of Physicians

Home of Fred the Snake (and Dr. Peter)

With a great title and stunning front cover, this thoroughly enjoyable, light-hearted ‘page turner’ provides a personalised, lightning-fast tour through six decades of endoscopy practice. Peter Cotton is not only the ‘master endoscopist’ but is also a raconteur of the highest order. From his early days at the Middlesex Hospital in London to his move to the United States the stories, people and places come thick and fast.

I began reading the book shortly after ‘take off’ from London en route to a lecture tour in South America and found myself unable to put it down. Arriving bleary eyed in Bogotta I had finished the book but had still not prepared my first lecture. Peter encounters many worse fates as the travelling expert endoscopist! Using a dry sense of humour he brings alive his experiences and both entertains and informs from start to finish. He describes his many friends and outlines their special contributions in his personal journey. The book is excellently illustrated with no shortage of photo portraits and amusing captions. Always upbeat, Peter triumphs against adversity, be it surviving the culinary challenges of China in the 1970s or the perils of the British National Health Service in the 1980s.

In years to come the book will be a useful reference for the history of endoscopy and those purchasing the book can also be pleased that all proceeds go to a fund dedicated to support endoscopy training. This book has worldwide appeal and should be snapped up by everyone who has ever pushed a scope or been involved with the pushing.

Brian Saunders, St Marks Hospital

published in Clinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London, December 2012