Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
This is an unusual biography of an unusual and enigmatic physician,
drawn mainly from his letters, speeches, radio broadcasts, medical and political
articles, poetry, drawings, paintings, and photographs. The extracts from
Bethune's own materials are linked by concise but informative biographical
notes by the author. Both write in a fluent readable style.
Norman Bethune's family background is one of many and varied interests,
activities, and achievements. His father was an "adventurer," converted to
an acerbic Presbyterianism by his evangelical wife, and an outspoken man of
high principle. Bethune's paternal grandfather was a mid-Victorian academic
surgeon, practicing in Toronto, Ontario, and Edinburgh, Scotland, and also
an accomplished amateur artist and poet. Earlier ancestors included a fur
trader and partner in the Hudson Bay Company, and a minister of religion who
moved to Canada after being a prisoner-of-war in the war of American independence.
Other relatives occupied major academic and religious positions.
Pinkerton PH. Norman BethuneNorman Bethune. JAMA. 2003;290(15):2066. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.2066-a
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