DOCTOR AT DIENBIENPHU by Paul Grwi
Kirkus Star

DOCTOR AT DIENBIENPHU

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A front line hospital during the last days of the Indochinese war, bombed, shelled and shattered, its medical supplies cut off and water only procured at a harrowing risk to the bearers- such is the setting for one of this generation's most profoundly moving accounts of war and courage and compassion. Sent to Dienbienphu as a two-week relief physician, Dr. Granwin performed numberless amputations and delicate abdominal surgery through sleepless days and nights; during rare respites, he served as orderly to patients quartered with him; he was so overrun that he had to crowd the floor of the operating room with the wounded; he so utterly lost the semblance of civilized living that he braved out the occasion when a General came to decorate the heroes in khaki shorts; he ended the siege as a prisoner. Individuals are singled out, especially the nurse Genevieve; a few episodes will be long remembered. But the power of the narrative lies chiefly in details, vignettes, occasional dialogue. This is a story of all the finer impulses and sensitivities within people, produced by and impossible to be seen apart from brutality. It is a story of white, black and yellow people speaking every language, and communicating their stricken humanity. Burma Surgeon once indicated the wide potential of this market.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1955
Publisher: John Day