Operation Vietnam: A New Zealand Surgical First

Author(s): Michael Shackleton

NZ Non Fiction

Michael Shackleton led a New Zealand surgical team in Vietnam in 1963,under the auspices of the Colombo Plan, before New Zealand's military involvement and during the year that saw Kennedy's assassination and the overthrow of the Diem regime. His family went along too. The book provides a different slant on New Zealand's Vietnam experience: the problem of setting up a surgical unit for civilians in the Binh Dinh Province Hospital with very little assistance, dealings with the New Zealand bureaucracy, difficulties of treatment with few resources and many cultural differences, and interactions with the British and the Americans. Extracts from Annabel Shackleton's letters home relate the domestic side of the experience. Michael Shackleton was an energetic and determined medical pioneer: the unit he established continued to operate until the very test days of war in 1974, providing health care for the civilian sick and war wounded.


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Michael Shackleton OBE is a retired surgeon living near Dunedin.

Introduction; The Start; Qui Nhon; First Crisis; The Team Assembles; Accommodation Complexities; The Team in Qui Nhon; First Operations; The Team in Action; At Work with the Vietnamese; Staff and Colleagues; Kontum and Pat Smith; The American Surgical Teams; Life in Qui Nhon; Official Opening; Diversions and Martial Law; The Coup; Leaving Vietnam; Epilogue; Index.

General Fields

  • : 9781877276910
  • : Otago University Press
  • : Otago University Press
  • : May 2004
  • : 230mm X 155mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Michael Shackleton
  • : Paperback
  • : 959.70437
  • : 159
  • : b/w photos