Good Medicine in Bad Places
Edward Horvath

Good Medicine in Bad Places

Good Medicine in Bad Places is the memoir of a U.S. Army combat physician, Colonel Edward Horvath. He is the highest-ranking medical officer to ever divulge his combat physician experiences during the War on Terror and the only one to do so from both a clinical and command perspective. In this memoir, he is charged not only with the medical care of U.S. soldiers but also with caring for the enemy—both on the battlefield and in prisons flooded with insurgents.


This non-fiction book follows Horvath as he decides to join the military after a long civilian career as a physician. He realizes that something is missing in his life—a greater calling. So, at the age of 59, he sets out for Army service in Iraq and is stationed at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. That will prove to be one of three deployments, spanning six years, and include positions of high medical command. Being the oldest soldier in a combat zone affords Horvath unique vantage points of maturity, wisdom and experience from which to tell his stories of war.



  • After decades of more conventional medical practice, in Iraq Horvath faces the realities of war for the first time—dead soldiers, maimed children, and a barbaric enemy—and he comes to question everything he once believed. Many scenes in the book were written while Col. Horvath was in theater, thus relaying gripping emotional intensity.
  • This book not only relates clinical stories, i.e. the management of traumatic injuries, but portrays wide-ranging experiences including insurgent interactions, cultural clashes, a controversial investigation of U.S. soldiers’ shoot-to-kill orders, and even Horvath risking his life to save the life of a young terrorist.
  • Added to Horvath’s broad array of experiences are the unique burdens of him being in a command position; he carries his lifelong practice of making split-second decisions to save lives—to all aspects of his military command as well.
  • Horvath’s narrative is unique in its extensive interactions among Iraqis—not just imprisoned insurgents but also dealings with their families, as well as with innocent women and children caught in crossfires, and Iraqi physicians and security forces. These dealings aren’t restricted to medical care and, in fact, moving interactions with the enemy eventually lead Horvath to forgiveness.
  • Over the course of the conflict in Iraq, Col. Horvath finds that the war has taken a toll on his body and spirit. Angry, depressed, and nearing despair, he experiences a series of remarkable events that lead him to find what he’d long been seeking in life.


Good Medicine in Bad Places is a physician’s remarkable journey to serve his country—and to serve humankind, trying to save lives, whether friend or foe, in the fog of war. The book is based on a presentation given on more than 65 occasions throughout the world, to audiences as large as 3,000, with each presentation receiving a rousing response.




Book Details:

  • Author: Edward Horvath
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • US: Ohio State University Press
Edward Horvath

Edward Horvath

Colonel Edward Horvath is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps, having served three deployments in Iraq. He has been a physician for more than 45 years. During his last deployment in 2011, Col. Horvath was Task Force Deputy Commander and Chief of Clinical Services for a combat support hospital near Tikrit, Iraq and was responsible for the medical care of over 20,000 U.S. soldiers in the northern half of Iraq. Earlier at the same base, he staffed the emergency room and outpatient clinic, caring for U.S. soldiers, Iraqi civilians and enemy combatants.   Horvath first went t...
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