DOCTOR TO THE ISLANDS by Tom & Lydia Davis
Kirkus Star


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A vibrant and inspiring example of modern pioneering is given in this story of Tom and Lydia Davis, who as newlyweds headed from New Zealand to Tom's home territory -- Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Aided by his just completed medical training, his receptiveness to native views (being half Polynesian, half Welsh was an asset), his energy and conviction, and his wife, Tom act about upsetting the static order of medical inattention to native needs. Tom understood his islanders when they balked at shots or feared the hospital on the haunted precipice where the air was healthy for tuberculars; he realized the economic factor in the health situation and fought to have it recognized, even guiding a native rebellion against government practices into the safe and constructive harbor of a producer's cooperative society and away from the agitation of Communists in New Zealand. His proudest accomplishment was the organization of medical services on the atolls through further training and use of native assistant medical officers;- his affection and confidence in them was well-founded. Bringing needed drugs and sanitation to the area were further accomplishments. Meanwhile, Lyd used her nurse's training to help in child care; her humor to appreciate her companions; her writing talent to assail the Atlantic Monthly. Two sons were born to them, and the moving passage telling of the fight for baby Timmy's life as fulminating pneumonia struck him, shows the beauty of the island people and their beliefs. An East-West crossing to America in midwinter on a yacht concludes an account which reveals strength, love, and dedication -- and the everchanging lifeways in the no longer isolated South Seas.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1954
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.