The Scalpel, The Sword
- Author: Sydney Gordon
- Publisher: Aakar Books
- ISBN: 9789350020418
This book is the story of Norman Bethune, a prominent Canadian thoracic surgeon. During the 1930s he became a convinced communist, which led him to the fron lines of the wars in Spain and China. He arrived in China about six months after the start of the major Sino-Japanese War. He made his way to Yenan where, in discussion with Mao Tse-tun, he advanced his theory that fully 75 percent of serious battle casualties would survive if operated on immediately. Mao commissionied Bethune to organize a mobile operating unit, and this brought Bethune to the "center of the war" in the interior of norhtern China.
His extraordinary devotion to duty became a legend throughout the region and eventually throughout China. He died of septicemia contracted when he cut himself while operating under great pressure as the Japanese advanced to within ten minutes of his operating room.