Two major factors should be considered as operative in the popularity potentials of this book- a novel dedicated to the...



Two major factors should be considered as operative in the popularity potentials of this book- a novel dedicated to the cause of pure medicine. First, the sometimes inexplicable and almost morbid fascination medical data, even scientific medical data, holds for many laymen. Second, the selection of the book as January Literary Guild. The story itself comes in a poor third. Far too often it bogs down in the insistence on the concept, and the long passages devoted to argument- sometimes in a dialog between the hero, Lucas Marsh, to whom Medicine is god, and almost anyone else,- his classmates, his roommate, his professors, his laboratory associates, his fellow doctors in the small town where he sets up practice, his fellow townsmen, even- though she does not intend it- his wife and his mistress. One can admire only Lucas' skill, his integrity, his idealism. As a human being he leaves much to be desired. One likes better his Swedish wife, of whom he is ashamed -- but at best she is too willing to be his doormat. One likes most of all the rugged old doctor, who has come to terms with the realities he feels must be accepted, who sees money as a chance for ultimate escape, but who still has pride in his skills and faith in the role of medicine as a servant of humanity. Disillusionment comes to the reader as well as to Lucas, as compromise is inevitable, and even condoning of wrong practice in the interests of the sacred profession and its front to the trusting world. One gets glimpses of the functioning of a town in which what affects one seems to affect all. Politics, good and bad; epidemic; newspaper attitudes; the functioning of the private and the County hospitals; all these aspects emerge in a story that- nonetheless- never loses sight of the central theme. Doctors will resent many of the charges- but will read the book for its intimate closeup of their own problems, through training to practice. The general market can be gauged somewhat on comparable interest in such books as Cronin's Shannon's Way and Morton Thompson's own The Cry and the Covenant.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 1953


Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1953

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