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Dr. Li Shu-Fan's autobiographical vicissitudes would give Jonathan Swift the blind staggers, and yet the good doctor serenely out-smiles Confucius in joy of life. A surgeon, in his words, must have the eyes of an eagle, the hands of a lady and the heart of a lion. These, combined with a marvelous ability to survive, are just what Dr. Li Shu-Fan possesses. When Shu-Fan's father returned from Boston to China in 1894, Shu-Fan's uncle tied the boy's father to a tree and tortured him. Shu-Fan's mother attempted suicide with a meat cleaver, and when his uncle's newborn son died, the uncle intended to force her to eat the dead infant. This will more than do to evoke the author's origins in an old world China. Before he was barely ambulatory, his head had been split open on three separate occasions. Existence was a strange mixture of roses and tigers for young Shu-Fan (he was also horned by a rhinoceros, attacked by ants). But eventually he became a world famous surgeon, a devoted father, and he outlived bubonic plague, tuberculosis, malaria, and the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, founded a great medical center, and continued his hobbies- wild game hunting and rose gardening. Admix gun-running for Sun Yat-sen, world travel and chat with Hemingway--well, it's fascinating reading. A perfect mixture for this age group.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1964
Publisher: Dutton