THE DEVIL IN GOD'S OLD MAN by Sue Mayes Newhall


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In the summer of 1963, Dr. Joseph Newhall removed his wife and three young sons to the hospital in Namkham, Burma, under the absolute rule of the aging Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, the ""Burma Surgeon"" who died in 1965: this is a friendly, candid and moving portrait. Throughout Mrs. Newhall's account of the family's travails and pleasures of two Burmese years--cases, tragic and triumphant; bridging of cultures; medical milestones; friendships and severely anxious moments as the nationalists consolidated power--towers the Old Man. No Schweitzer, he, or Dooley, believing as he did in a strong central, modern hospital, and in a minimum of missionary emphasis of any persuasion. (On hearing the sweet warbling of ""Rock of Ages,"" Dr. Seagrave was heard to growl: ""Why the hell can't they sing on key!""). The Old Man arbitrarily baited his staff, terrified with tantrums, enjoyed earthy epithets and an acrid humor; his ego was gargantuan. However, ""few people are pure humanitarians. . . . Whether they loved him or not, thousands of people in the Union of Burma were better off because of his work."" A modest, unpretentious good-wifely account but a not unrewarding epilogue to the doctor's own books.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1969
Publisher: Norton