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Heartbreaker

Category: Medical Biographies
ISBN:   9781868428427
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale: December 2017
List price: R240
Format: Paperback
eBook ISBN
9781868428434 

Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the first heart transplant


James Styan


In this new biography of Chris Barnard we not only learn about the life of South Africa’s most famous surgeon, from his Beaufort West childhood through his studies locally and abroad to his prominent marriages – and divorces – but James Styan also examines the impact of the historic heart transplant on Barnard’s personal life and South African society at large, where apartheid legislation often made the difficulties of medicine even more convoluted.

The role of black medical staff like Hamilton Naki is explored, as is the intense rivalry that arose between other famous heart surgeons and Barnard. How did Barnard manage to beat them all in this race of life and death? How much did his famous charisma have to do with it all?

And in the light of his later years, his subsequent successes and considerable failures, what is Barnard’s legacy today? Styan covers it all in this fascinating new account of a real heartbreaker.


James Styan has been the Media Liaison Officer for the Western Cape Minister of Local Government and Environmental Affairs since 2014. Previously James was a senior political correspondent for Media24 in Parliament, after working as a financial reporter in Johannesburg for a number of years. His first book Blackout: The Eskom Crisis was published in 2015. James studied at the universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, and qualified as an accountant before becoming a journalist.

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