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Phoenix The Life of Norman Bethune by Roderick Stewart, Sharon Stewart


Phoenix The Life of Norman Bethune by Roderick Stewart, Sharon Stewart

Restless, dynamic, conflicted, a surgeon, an artist, and a writer, Norman Bethune was an extraordinary Canadian. Brilliant, yet erratic, Bethune's life was characterized by cycles of achievement and self-destruction and his adventurous spirit led him from the operating rooms of Montreal to the battlegrounds of Spain and China. In Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune Roderick and Sharon Stewart provide the intriguing details of Bethune's controversial career as a surgeon, his turbulent personal life, his passionate crusade to eradicate tuberculosis, and his pioneering commitment to the establishment of medicare in Canada. They also examine the reasoning that led Bethune to embrace Marxism and show the depth of his faith in the triumph of communism over fascism - a commitment that drove him to take risk after risk and ultimately led to his death from an infection caught while performing battlefield surgery in remote northern China. Based on extensive research in Canada, Spain, and China, and in-depth interviews with Bethune's family, friends, colleagues, and patients, Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune is the definitive Bethune biography for our time.


At long last, the whole Bethune-flaws and contradictions intact, making the extraordinary accomplishments of this troubled and near tragic figure all the more remarkable to unravel. I was riveted, from beginning to end. Ken Gass, Artistic Director, Fac Phoenix makes a compelling read. Phoenix is both readable and authoritative. It dispels many of the myths which have grown around Bethune, and presents him warts and all. The book will be a valuable contribution to history's view of Bethune. Spectrum The Stewarts have done an extraordinary job in their new biography. They travelled to many of the places where Bethune lived and worked, talked to old Party members who remembered him, and assimilated much new material into their narrative. The book is beautifully written, with a clear narrative. Providing excellent background information on the times, they keep Bethune in the foreground and make him a much more complex, exasperating, and admirable man than the pottery statue of Chinese propaganda. The Tyee

About the Author

Roderick Stewart, author of Bethune and The Mind of Norman Bethune, is a retired teacher of history. Sharon Stewart has over twenty-five years of experience as a writer and as a freelance editor in educational publishing.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th August 2012


Roderick Stewart, Sharon Stewart

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McGill-Queen's University Press


496 pages


Biography: general
History of medicine



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