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The Citadel Paperback – November 30, 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
The story's written with intelligence, as the doctor ponders various ways to deal with the bureaucracy he faces. He deals with incompetent doctors, old doctors that have no desire to learn new treatments, young doctors more concerned with money and prestige than patient care.
And, as he gets absorbed into the system, the doctor begins to be lured in by the money. He starts to prescribe the 'easy' solution to patients, even if it's not the right answer, so that they're happy and he gets more cash. He does finally realize, in the end, that working for the patients is more important than gaining lots of cash, but only after some hard lessons.
I have a few small complaints with the story. One is that the wife could have been a really interesting character, but she's a little flat. She is sad when he becomes money-hungry, and draws back, but that's it. She was a schoolteacher when he met her, and it's made clear that she's very intelligent. But still she just sort of goes along with him, making his meals, wishing things could be better, but far be it for her to actually help out. She tries to get his friends to see him one night to bring back his old ways, but when that fails, "ah well".
My other complaint is that he slides far too easy from a passionate patient-first attitude into a "cash is nice" mentality. But that was necessary for the plot to progress.
Definitely a great book to read to learn about life in the 20s to 40s, from the small towns of Wales to the busy streets of London. Interesting details about the damage that mines caused to the lungs of the mineworkers, and the ways that doctors worked with each other and treated their patients. A great read!
recounts the evolution of a young Scottish doctor embarking upon his career. We follow his struggles from the mines of Wales to posh London and beyond. Committed to helping mankind, hard working though of modest means, Andrew Manson arrives fresh out of medical school--with all the enthusiasm and idealism of youth. Eager to dedicate himself to improving the lives of his rustic patients, Andrew dedicates many hours to private study in his chosen field of lung disease.
But young Andrew is buffeted by fate for many years; although lucky in his choice of a life partner (school teacher Christine Barlow), he encounters opposition at every turn--from his employers, institutions, quacks and busybodies. Each move promises to be an upgrade, but he is rarely permitted to enjoy the change for long. He does meet a few decent young men in his travels, but he gradually chafes under the system which perpetuates greed and ignorance-the medical establishment in general, to which Cronin refers as the Citadel. Only a fool-hardy person would seek to attack such a mighty establishment, for the GMC can always strike a doctor off for misconduct-real or perceived.
Cronin's style is highly readable, with much dialogue and interesting plotting. In fact he offers teaser sentences of woe as unexpected foreshadowing in the last paragraph of chapters which seem to end well. We witness the erosion of Andrew's ideals as he falls victim to the wealthy lifestyle of London's West End milieu. But the more he gains in the eyes of the world, the less he cherishes his faithful, patient wife.Read more ›
There were numerous British words I didn't know what they referred to, but I found I was able to just skip over them & keep reading without losing the essence of the plot or the sense of timing/tension/drama that kept bringing me back to read more.
The story is a chronological account of Manson's life from his graduation from college, through his professional life as a physician in 1920's-1930's England. The book sketches Manson's change from his schoolboy idealism to cynical medical profiteer and his final return to the high ethical and medical standards with which he begun his medical career.
Throughout the book, the reader will consistently encounter two major themes. First is the resistance of the highly conservative medical establishment of the 1920's England to any sort of change illuminated by the advancement of science. Manson again and again butts heads with his fellow doctors, patients and medical societies when he uses "unorthodox" treatments that actually deliver clinical results as oppose to the cod liver oil and patented concoctions that deliver no results except to line the wallets of greedy doctors.
The second theme is the dishonesty of many in the medical establishment. By pandering to rich patients, by telling people what they want to hear, by sucking up to social elites while ignoring those in actual plight, a dishonest doctor stands to profit immensely. On the other hand, an honest doctor who delivers the sad, untolerable, but ultimately true diagnosis is shunned as a quack. Witness the rich middle class wives who are nothing but hypochondriacs mooning over charlatans promising them cures with their patented cures that are nothing but colored water. Then compare that to their shock and abhorence at Dr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book as a teenager almost 30 years ago. Still great! Even if the story line quite predictable the writing is amazing.Published 12 days ago by DigitalAge2013
While this is an old book, it's just as relevant today as it was years ago when I first read it. AJ Cronin was a first rate author.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a very interesting insight into the life of a young English doctor practicing first in the mining districts of Wales and later in London. Read morePublished 6 months ago by camp one
Our protagonist is a doctor serving in early twentieth century U.K. Can he prove himself worthy to hard scrabble Welsh coal miners? Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tami Williams
This was one of A. J. Cronin's best books. I have read most of them and liked this one a lot. It has a good story which keeps you engaged in the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Julia E. Riley
A.J. Cronin is a master at getting the reader's attention. I read "Keys of the Kingdom" 3 times. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Henry Link (Mrs. Joan Link) I love Erma!
A gripping tale of the careeer and aspirations of a young physician in the England of the late1920s. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jan Schneider