Alexis Carrel, surgeon, biologist and author, was born in Ste. Foy-les-Lyon, France, on June 28, 1873; he died in Paris on November 5, 1944. In those eventful seventy-one years, his wide variety of interests brought him many opportunities for fame. In 1912, while on the staff of the Rockefeller Institute in New York City, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his success in suturing blood vessels and transplanting organs. Returning to France to join the French Army in World War I, he there perfected, with Henry D. Dakin, the Carrel-Dakin solution for the treatment of infected wounds. And, in 1934, working with Charles A. Lindbergh, he developed an "artificial heart" for use in scientific experimentation. His first popular book was Man the Unknown (Harper, 1935), one of the great bestsellers of modern times, which brought him to the attention of a broader public. When World War II broke out, he once again returned from America to his native France to serve in his country's hour of need. After the German occupation, he was appointed by the Vichy government to head the French Foundation for the Study of Human Problems and held that post until the liberation of France. Embittered by criticism of his wartime activities, he died only two weeks after the De Gaulle government had cleared him of charges of collaboration. Since his death, two books prior to this work have been published in the United States: Prayer (Morehouse-Gorham, 1948) and The Voyage to Lourdes (Harper, 1950).

Reflections on Life (Hawthorn, 1953) was designed by Sidney Feinberg and completely manufactured by American Book-Stratford Press, Inc. The body type is Caledonia, designed for the Lino-type by W. A. Dwiggins, one of America's best-known typographers and designers. The paper is an antique finish stock manufactured by the S. D. Warren Company.

A Hawthorn Book