Recently, we were given some copies of the Jungle Doctor books and Younger Daughter and I have been enjoying them
The Jungle Doctor series of books tell the fictionalised story of an Australian missionary doctor in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Paul White really was a missionary doctor in this area from 1938 to 1941 and the stories are based on the experiences that he, and others had. As the stories are written in the first person, they give the impression that they all happened to Paul White but some were the experiences of his colleagues. The books were written after the Whites had to leave due to the illness of Mrs White. The books have a clear Christian message. Paul White and the other workers at the hospital were working for the Lord to save souls as well as bodies.
Reading these books decades later and after over twenty years in medicine, they are still appealing but more scary. The medicine is like a historical record: M and B tablets for meningitis, nothing disposable, plenty of improvisation without going through an ethics committee, aspirin for everyone for pain and so on.
Yet these stories live on. The medicine is dated, the society is dated but the stories are compelling. What makes them compelling? The humour-Paul White isn't afraid to laugh at himself; the reality-not all the stories have happy endings; the medicine-yes, it is old fashioned but the realities of desperately sick patients come across honestly; the action; the people and the love for the Lord who inspired the work of the Church Missionary Society hospital.
Recommended for children from about 7 and well, they are a fascinating light read for adults.
My copies are loved older copies but Christian Focus has republished these books.
This is linked to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books.
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