Cover image for Bypass : a memoir
Bypass : a memoir
Amato, Joseph Anthony.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
West Lafayette, Ind. : Purdue University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 227 pages ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RD598.35.C67 A45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This inquiry into matters of heart, conducted under the shadows of pending surgery, awakens themes of boyhood, education, and marriage and prompt questions about loyalty to a deceased father, connections with immigrant grandparents, loss and rediscovery of faith, and solitude versus community. A medical narrative, the book also chronicles a span of contemporary American life. Throughout Amato's account, the consistent reminder of his upcoming bypass invites readers to reflect on their own lives and selves. This is an intelligent and witty guide to an immensely common operation that nevertheless for each patient constitutes a unique experience-a veritable rite of passage.

Author Notes

Joseph A. Amato is a professor of history at Southwest State University.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In anticipation of a surgical procedure that would cut his chest wide open and stop the flow of blood to his heart, Amato immersed himself in an introspective farewell to his past, "as if I were lightening myself for a great crossing." A middle-aged professor of history (Victims and Values: A History and Philosophy of Suffering), he attempted to avoid the surgery in 1988 by adhering to a strict program of diet and exercise until an angiogram detected increased arterial blockage five years later. In reflective prose laden with minutiae, he recounts a trip to his boyhood home in Detroit when he visited his father's grave, but also expresses feelings of regret that "our hearts had not drawn closer together." A reunion with a close friend from his teens prompts memories of a shared obsession with golf. Amato also made a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor, where during his college days a spiritual epiphany returned him to the Roman Catholic faith of his working-class Italian-American childhood. In competent prose with occasional lyrical strokes, he vividly recalls the early years of his marriage to his wife, Cathy, when they acted upon a joint commitment to the ideals of the Catholic Worker Movement in the late 1960s and '70s. Although Amato includes many details about his ultimately successful surgery and recuperation, his searching memoir is primarily rumination on life by a man who is keenly aware of his proximity to death. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Amato (history, Southwestern State Univ.) elected to undergo bypass surgery to alleviate his cardiac symptoms and problems, it set loose a torrent of reflections on his life. Thus, the upcoming heart surgery brings forth thoughts on his boyhood, lineage and kinship, education, marriage, spiritual matters, liberal politics--and, ever present, the surgery and the possibility of death. Although Amato comes across as a decent fellow, his introspection and reflections are somewhat disorganized and random, and he never gets down to the real medical problem. When you turn the final page, you are not sure what Amato really wanted to convey or why he thought he should try. For larger collections; libraries seeking more compelling patient stories should try David Biro's One Hundred Days (LJ 12/99).--James Swanton, Harlem Hosp. Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Leon RappoportLyle Joyce
Forewordp. xi
Forewordp. xv
Diagnosisp. 1
Keeper of the Gravesp. 28
Broken Journeysp. 51
Boyhood Daysp. 71
First Painsp. 90
Chrysalisp. 104
Embodimentsp. 122
Incarnationsp. 136
Last Daysp. 154
Surgeryp. 167
Wakingp. 185
Convalescencep. 197
Rehabilitationp. 207