Email this review


A not particularly unusual doctor- novel set in Bavaria in 1948 and 1949, the story deals with Richard Gerbrand, a prisoner of war recently returned by the Russians to his homeland in West Germany. A medical student with a year and a half to go before he becomes a doctor, he was a Wehrmacht medic during the war and under the pressure of battle and later in the prison camps performed all of the duties of a fully qualified surgeon. Upon his return, he meets by accident one of the men whose life he saved at Kharkov and who believes him to be a full-fledged doctor. The man, now an important local official, gets him a job in the country hospital through pull. Gerbrand, not without misgivings and fears, accepts the post of deputy chief of staff, in which he acquits himself well while at the same time studying to complete his medical course. All goes well, medically and socially, (he has an affair with the daughter of a local bigwig) for over a year, but then due to a combination of circumstances his secret comes out, he is tried, and because of his exceptional ability and his great popularity with his co-workers-cleared. Most interesting to most readers will be the well-handled medical detail, though some will be also drawn by the workings of medical politics and others will be interested in the unpointed picture of post-war German attitudes, towards the Americans and Russians, towards the recent war, towards each other...Perhaps somewhat heavy for the general American audience, however.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1955
Publisher: Criterion Books