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Walking Free - Munjed Al Muderis

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One man's phenomenal tale of escaping a death sentence in Iraq, surviving the Australian Refugee system and becoming a pioneering surgeon at the forefront of Orthopaedic medicine.

Dr Munjed Al Muderis grew up in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's reign. He went to school with Saddam's sons, then started his medical training at Basra University just as the Iran-Iraq War began. One day, as he was working as a trainee surgeon at the Saddam Hussein Medical Centre, he and his colleagues were ordered to remove the tops of the ears of army deserters. He could not bring himself to act in defiance of the medical code of conduct and cause intentional harm, so he had no choice but to flee Baghdad that same day. In Kuala Lumpur he paid people smugglers to get him to Australia, where he was incarcerated in a detention centre and known only as '982'. After nine months of being repeatedly brutalised for standing up for himself and other detainees, Munjed was finally freed.

But he had to start his medical training again, from scratch. Now, 15 years later, Munjed is at the forefront of orthopaedic medicine as he pioneers a new form of prosthesis that, ironically, transforms the lives of soldiers mutilated in the Iraq War.

Walking Free is the extraordinary story of a clever young man, born into one of Iraq's ruling families, who was forced to flee the country of his birth and forge a new and extraordinary life in Australia.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Munjed Al Muderis has a remarkable story to tell, by anyone’s standards: first as a privileged Iraqi, then as an asylum seeker at Curtin detention centre and now, astonishingly, as one of the world’s pioneering surgeons specialising in osseointegration, a radical new technique for prospethetic limbs.

With the surgical detachment required of a man with a steady hand and a cool head, his story is nevertheless a gripping and emotional one, full of fear, danger and risk.

Eventually, Al Muderis witnesses one of his patients, British soldier Michael Swain, receive an MBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle. While the soldier makes an agonising, faltering journey to receive his medal, it is the surgeon who has walked furthest. Along the way, he makes a calmly reasoned appeal for asylum seekers to be accorded basic human dignity in detention.

About the Author

Dr Munjed Al Muderis was born in Iraq to a wealthy but ageing father. Born and raised in Iraq, he studied medicine but had to flee when Sadaam's reign of terror began. He is now one of only five surgeons in the world performing oseo-integration, a radical new treatment for those who have lost limbs. He lives in Sydney with his wife, children and dog.


Couldn't book this book down. Read it in one sitting.


I saw Munjed Al Muderis speak at a conference recently, it was moving listening to him tell his story in a humorous and raw way. I had to get the book to learn more of his background, as he couldn't tell his whole story in just one hour: this is where the book comes in. It gives a background and pathway into his childhood, family and upbringing. It provides his education history and then the dangerous and real issues of living in a country with unstable government and war breaking out. Some Australians may find this hard to grasp and understand, as white Australians have had it good (look up whiteness theory if you don't know what I mean). Then his moral and ethical rational to leave and escape the country. The utter terrifying and unknown journey to safety. I think that is a story in itself, but it goes on to provide his current career and determination to make a difference in other peoples lives. He is a remarkable man with a vision. Any negative views of this book just don't make sense.... read this with a critical lens and after meeting him at a conference, I can say he is one of the most humblest and genuine people I have ever met. Read it, it may change your perspective on those so called "boat people".



Fantastic read


Desperately needed a family tree. I spent ages drawing one up as I worked my way through. Fabulous story and very inspiring.



A fairytale in every sense


Time will tell the real truths behind this piece of fiction. This self glorified story is dangerous - amputees are vulnerable to this in particular.. I can only beg people to seek facts - objective facts & these might be hard to even obtain. Objectivity here is critical.

Sydney, Australia


Fantastic story, changed my perspective


I loved this book. I read it on a holiday. This book is captivating. I loved every moment of it. I could not put it down. Thankyou..

Mt Martha


A Must read for every Australian


A story from the other side of the world that comes to our shores.



A Great Read!!!


This is a good story that needed to be told about a remarkable doctor who has come from the horrible situtaion in Irag, escaped, endured the filfth of an overcrowded refugee boat bound for Australia, the horrors of a detention centre, and gained world recognition as a leader osseointegration surgeon. Our world is a better place with dedicated men such as Munjed Al Muderis.

Mulgoa, NSW

Walking Free

4.2 6


ISBN: 9781760110727
ISBN-10: 1760110728
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st October 2014
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.52
Edition Number: 1