A NOTE FROM SHERI FINK
War doctors are brilliant storytellers. One doctor's story was what first led me, with a fellowship from the University of California at Berkeley Human Rights Center, to spend a year after medical school interviewing a variety of former and current war doctors. I could listen for hours as they spun tales of lives saved under impossible conditions, of dangers braved, and of personal and ethical struggles endured. Then I found Srebrenica. In this besieged eastern Bosnian town, where lack of running water, electricity and often anesthetics were just the beginning, it seemed that doctors and nurses had been visited by every imaginable affliction of modern war.
Their story so compelled me that I spent four years pursuing its details. I wanted to understand what motivated them to carry--and sometimes drop--the additional burden of caring for an entire population while themselves struggling to survive. I was attracted by the character of the individuals, the universality of their experiences, and the worldwide importance of Srebrenica--where humanitarian aid, international media attention and UN intervention had failed to prevent Europe's largest massacre in fifty years.
The openness of several doctors enabled me to reconstruct a narrative from their perspectives. What most surprised me was the extent to which they influenced war activities. Realizing that bandaging patients' wounds does nothing to address the root causes of their suffering, the doctors mixed medicine with advocacy, community organizing and politics. Some--with the painful conviction that they could save more lives by taking lives--shook off their white coats, picked up guns, and turned themselves into fighters.
Pub date: 11/23/04
Price: $16.50/23.50 Canada
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Carton Quantity: 24
Selling Territory: WxUK,CW