Thursday, May 08, 2014

Books read in May 2014

1. Little Stories of Life and Death @NHSwhistleblowr by David Drew David Drew was a respected consultant paediatrician for over 37 years. His care for and commitment to his patients comes across in this well crafted autobiography. It was this care for his patients that landed in trouble with his employers when he complained about lack of child protection, bullying of staff, a ward dangerously cold in winter and other matters. When he complained about a senior nurse he was the one suspended and referred to a psychiatrist. After he was reinstated there followed a travesty of a supposedly independent review of his case. He was not allowed to have witnesses cross-examined so he was not told who had complained about him expressing his Christian faith, Offered over £250,000 to resign with a good reference and a gagging order he bravely refused. The BMA, his professional body were of little help in contesting his dismissal so he had to fund his own case at employment tribunals. I will not spoil the story by disclosing the end of the tale. Throughout the book Dr Drew enjoys the full support of his wife Janet and their four adult children. It is quite a romantic tale of married love amid a very difficult struggle. All power to this good doctor as he now seeks to help other whistleblowers. By the way, we learn here that NHS employers do not recognise whistleblowers. They are mere trouble makers. 2. To the Hebrides: Samuel Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands and James Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebdides edited by Ronald Black It seems remarkable that Johnson and Boswell should pioneer touring the Highlands less than thirty years after the suppresion of the Jacobite rebellion. It was informative how the two men's different accounts of the same experiences were placed side by side. The Highlands had been pacified and disarmed, transformed foom a land of internecine feuds into a peaceful and hospitable country. The native tongue was Gaellic, here called Erse. English only schooling would lead to its decline. The country was poor and already many of the poor were emigrating to a better life across the Atlantic away from greedy lanlords. This was before the Clearances. Johnson's prejudices against the Scots, Whigs and Presbyterianism are all too evident though he does concede that the Presbyterian clergy were more diligent in pastoral care than their Anglican counterparts. All in all this is a great glimpse at life in Scotland over 200 years ago. 3.The Global Diffusion of Evangelicalism (History of Evangelicalism) by Brian Stanley This is church history in contemporary, post World War II times. While titled about a global diffusion it in fact concentrates on the West especially North America and the UK. So I found the section on Nigeria to be a very partial account and that concerning Korea notable by its absence. I do not think the author has done justice to his title but he is very informative on the trends in evangelicalism in the West.