Answering the Call: The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life

Ken Gire. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-59555-079-8
Renaissance man Albert Schweitzer’s long and storied life (1876–1965) as a missionary, doctor, philosopher, and organist is distilled into a concise parable, centered around his multiple sojourns in West Africa, where he established a hospital. A Christian author and speaker, Gire (At Peace in the Storm) delivers Schweitzer’s life as a homily, presenting his subject’s “philosophy of reverence for life” in potent, accessible imagery: treating patients, personally laboring in hospital construction, nurturing injured animals. Clear prose and spiritual inspiration generally supersede details and absolute fact. Conversations are “surmised and assumed,” and “a couple of characters” are admitted to be inventions (though it isn’t clear which ones). Through such literary liberties, Schweitzer is given an expository voice, using casual conversations to provide backstory to his rich life. Though his depiction of the doctor is a generally objective narrative, Gire’s faith occasionally emerges in religious phrasing, which may alienate non-Christians. The birth of Schweitzer’s daughter becomes the “promise of God,” and a financial boon at his mission hospital makes it a “great day for the kingdom of God.” This approach condenses the 90-year life of a noble humanitarian into a brief motivational sermon, an uncomplicated summation of Schweitzer’s life suitable for an interested Christian fellowship. Agent: Greg Johnson, WordServe Literary (Apr. 16)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-59555-392-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-61375-347-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-60981-694-0
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-62188-226-8
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-59415-462-1
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