Norman Bethune

Norman Bethune

Book - 2009
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The stormy and inspirational life of a Canadian doctor who is a hero in China.

Honoured as a hero in China, Ontario-born Norman Bethune was a surgeon, medical innovator, and charismatic political activist who deployed his skills on the battlefields of Spain and China in the 1930s. His prodigious energy included inventing surgical instruments, mobile blood-transfusion units, teaching, and advocating for social justice at home and abroad. Adrienne Clarkson, a Chinese Canadian, has always been fascinated by the dynamic man who married his social conscience to his medical mission. Reviled as a Communist by some, revered as a humanitarian by others, Bethune was a complicated, inspirational figure who lived and loved on a large canvas.

Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, c2009.
ISBN: 9780670067312
Characteristics: xiii, 200 p. ;,21 cm.


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Oct 01, 2014

This slim book offers a straight-forward biography based on earlier accounts, some new documentation, and travel by the author to the countries where Bethune was active as a humanitarian doctor. This biography provides a very brief bibliography; and it lacks an index.

Jan 08, 2012

Gained a much fuller impression of the amazing man and his motivations from Clarkson’s biography (published as one of the books in the ‘Extraordinary Canadians’ series). Had heard about his time in Montreal and work in China but not really anything about the logging camps & his role there as a Frontier College ‘teacher’ [the movement founded by Alfred Fitzpatrick] nor his WWI experiences – which I found particularly insightful. I also learned about his time in the US, his illness and his groundbreaking work in Spain with mobile blood transfusion units and his difficulty with personal relationships. The book provides a well - rounded picture of the man, his influences & beliefs. I had not realized just how much he saw himself as a man of action & his belief that he was meant to be in the spot light – ‘making great things happen’ but all the while trying to make things better for others & to ease their suffering. His time in China was truly epic but it is good to see that he is also becoming recognized in Canada and in Spain. Just the right length/level of detail.

Nov 01, 2009

Very interesting. Adrienne Clarkson does a great job of showing all sides of this great man. I learned a lot and now appreciate Norman Bethune's spirit of "helping others".

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