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Fever and Thirst: A Missionary Doctor Amid the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan Hardcover – August 30, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1 edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897335376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897335379
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The missionary doctor in question was Asahel Grant, who left Oneida County, New York, in 1835 with his young bride. They traveled to Turkish Kurdistan under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. His purpose was to preach Christianity and bring Western medicine to the Nestorian people there. Taylor describes their lives; crude huts made of branches were their homes, and many of them were sick from dysentery and cholera. Grant was overwhelmed with patients, and in addition to his medical practice, he taught in the mission schools. Taylor recounts Grant's journeys; he had to climb passes, ford rivers, and somehow avoid bandits to get from village to village. It is a harrowing story of disease, misfortune, and sometimes death (Grant's wife and twin baby girls died there in 1840), but it is an enthralling account of one man's endeavor to help those in need. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Gordon E. Taylor is an independent scholar and writer who has long been fascinated by the peoples and places of the Middle East, where he has taught English, lived, and travelled. He holds a B.A. degree from Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he studied History and Theatre. Fever and Thirst is the culmination of a lifetime's fascination with the mountains of Hakkari, in southeast Turkey, and the Kurds and Assyrian Christian mountaineers who made those mountains their home.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Lutz on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
An extraordinary book. This slice of 19th Century history, remarkable in its own right, is background to much of the strife in today's geopolitical news. My benchmarks for such things being David Fromkin's wonderful A Peace to End All Peace, and Karl Meyer's Tournament of Shadows, plus the works of Peter Hopkirk, I can safely say Taylor surpasses them all in rendering complex events, timelines, and relationships with clarity and immediacy. Fever and Thirst fills out an extra perspective on the machinations at the fringes of the Great Game, and serves up a hugely erudite portrait of fractious Christian attempts at empire-building in the Middle East circa 1840, mischief which remains at the heart of so much woe in that region. Taylor is not afraid occasionally to render sophisticated judgments on everything from the missionary's apolitical disengagement to the quality of the local wine (which I'll remember to forego should the occasion arise). It's reassuring that the author has opinions on his topic, and cares to express them. Likewise, that he can find some wry humor in such a tale of Romantic - even obsessive - zeal, despite the horrendous human cost he has catalogued. Fascinating detail and broad learning underpin the superbly sustained narrative (including some finer points of Christian theology, not to mention the history of the Ottoman Empire, about which it's hard to imagine many Westerner knowing a useful amount these days), and a controlled dramatic tone pushes the character-driven story forward. Fever and Thirst is particularly good at portraying the endless political chaos in the soul of the regions then nominally under Turkish domination, characterized by ever-shifting alliances, greed and betrayal.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Pomputius on July 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before I read this book I knew little about this part of the world and nothing about the 19th-century missionary movement. The author writes with grace and confidence and has a reasssuring command of his subject. The book makes accessible a particularly complicated political arena and the motivations -- so foreign to a 21st-century reader -- of a passionate individual determined, at all costs, to bring Protestantism (and medical help) to the Christians of Kurdistan. Highly recommended.
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By rc on December 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This portrait of an early medical missionary from New York is intriguing and well written. As other reviewers have mentioned, I, too, had little knowledge of this part of the world in the first half of the 1800's. Not only did I discover the attributes and faults of this mystifying man, I learned a great deal about the Middle East, enabling me to understand much of the reasoning behind current events there. The story of Asahel Grant is well-told and definitely worth reading.
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