Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune

Type of resource
Authors/collaborators
Title
Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune
Abstract
Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939), a physician, medical inventor, army officer, artist, and political activist, lived in Montreal from 1928 to 1936 where he was employed as a surgeon, first at the Royal Victoria Hospital and then at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur in Cartierville. He also became involved in left-wing politics during this period, joining the Communist Party of Canada in 1935 and organizing the Montreal Group for the Security of the People's Health and workshops to teach poor children how to paint in oils and watercolours. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, he left Canada for Madrid to support the anti-fascist Republican forces. In 1938, Bethune went to China to support Mao Zedong's 8th Route Army against the invading Japanese. On November 1, 1939, he cut his hand while operating and contracted septicaemia. The authors detail 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, they argue, that drove Bethune to take risk after risk and ultimately led to his death from the septicaemia infection caught while performing battlefield surgery in remote northern China.
Place
Montreal and Kingston
Publisher
McGill-Queen's University Press
Date
2011
Language
en
Citation
Stewart, Roderick, and Sharon Stewart. Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011.
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