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Shaman by Noah Gordon
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Shaman (original 1992; edition 2001)

by Noah Gordon

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7401212,599 (3.76)14
Member:fuzzi
Title:Shaman
Authors:Noah Gordon
Info:Little, Brown Book Group (2001), Paperback, 652 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Shaman by Noah Gordon (1992)

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Showing 4 of 4
a very nice read about a rather innovative doctor and family around the time of the US Civil War. I enjoyed the description of life both in the city and countryside...mystery elements in the story keeps you interested throughout and I won't be a spoiler by describing any of them.

You become involved in their life and it was a very satisfying read. ( )
  Lynxear | Apr 11, 2011 |
I thought this was a fascinating work of historical fiction and science. This is a thoroughly researched novel, it brought alive what it was like for a young person to be growing up in the mid 19th century America. Three scenes resonated with me, and I am going to describe them, as I'd like to remember them.

In the first, Shaman (the protagonist) is attending college. He is a 15 year old deaf student - who is very interested in science and medicine. In this scene he decides that his future will be medicine:
"He watched until the stars seemed to wheel, enormous and glittering. What had formed them up there, out there? And the stars beyond? And beyond? ...
He felt that each star and planet was part of a complicated system, like a bone in a skeleton, or a drop of blood in a body. So much of nature seemed organized, thought out - so orderly, and yet so complicated. What had made it so? .... The stars were magical but all you could do is watch them. If a heavenly body went awry, you couldn't ever hope to make it well again."

The second scene that struck me is when the 25 year old Shaman learns that his father had been been working with a merchant neighbor to help run a section of the Underground Railroad. Shaman is surprised that: "The plump, balding merchant didn't look heroic or appear the kind of person who would risk everything for a principle in defiance of the law. Shaman was filled with admiration for the steely secret man who inhabited Cliburne.s soft storekeeper body." George Cliburne, is a Quaker with a philosophical bent, who persuades Shaman to attend a Quaker meeting. The Quaker principles suit Shaman, who eventually seems to adopt them as his own.

Finally, near the end of the book, Shaman is teaching a human anatomy lesson, much as his father taught him. He says:
"No matter how soiled the human body is, it's a miracle to be marveled at and treated well. When a person dies, the soul or spirit - what the Greeks called anemos - leaves it. Men have always argued about whether it dies to, or it goes elsewhere. ... the spirit leaves the body behind the way someone leaves a house he's lived in."

This is a book abut two men - father and son coming to maturity. I found it well worth reading, it made me think about lessons I might impart to my own son. ( )
  brewbooks | Apr 11, 2010 |
Great book! If you liked this, you should also read der Medicus. It was even more fascinating. This is just a continuation of it.(in a later generation...) ( )
1 vote MichaelFerris | Apr 30, 2009 |
Loved it! ( )
  tobiejonzarelli | Nov 11, 2008 |
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Dedication
This book is dedicated with love to
Loraine Gordon, Irving Cooper, Cis and Ed Plotkin, Charlie Ritz, and the lovely memory of Iso Ritz.
First words
The Spirit of Des Moines had sent signals ahead as it approached the Cincinnati depot in the coolness of dawn, detected by Shaman first as a delicate trembling barely perceived in the wooden station platform, a pronounced shivering that he felt clearly, then a shaking.
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Book description
ŠAMAN je obiteljska saga epskih razmjera, živopisan prikaz dvojice liječnika iz obitelji Cole, žena koje oni vole, brutalnog ubojstva i naglog razvoja medicine do kojeg dolazi nakon mračnih stoljeća neznanja.
    --------------------------------------

    BLOOD AND BRAVERY,
    TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH

Indian country - the wide-open prairie of frontier Illinois - and the war-torn fields of the Civil War are settings for this powerful epic of nineteenth-century America. From half a world away, Dr. Rob J Cole comes to the forbidding Great Plains to pursue his medical destiny.

Ahead of him are the terrible trials of a white man standing alone in hostile territory ... and acts of such unspeakable violence he will never forget them. Yet Rob J goes on to find love with a passionate pioneer wife ... and to becomeone family with her strong son, who fights valiantly for the South in the Civil War. And when Rob and Sarah's own son, Shaman, grows to manhood, he too becomes heir to the proud tradition of medicine, battling different but equally staggering odds. Sweeping across decades of change and conflict, growth and loss, this majestic saga brims with medical authenticity and hte tumult of America in the making.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751500828, Paperback)

Robert Jeremy Cole, the legendary doctor and hero of The Physician, left an enduring legacy. From the 11th century on, the eldest son in each generation of the Cole family has borne the same first name and middle initial and many of these men have followed the medical profession. A few have been blessed with their ancestor's diagnostic skill and the "sixth sense" they call The Gift, the ability to know instinctively when death is impending. The tragedy of Rob J.'s life is the deafness of his son, Robert Jefferson Cole, who is called Shaman by everyone who knows him. Shaman's life is difficult. First, he must learn to speak so that he can take his place in the hearing world, and then he must fight against the prejudices of a society where physical differences matter. As Shaman struggles to achieve his identity, the Coles, along with the rest of America, are drawn into the conflict between the North and the South.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Robert Jeremy Cole, legendary doctor and hero, has a deaf son who is called Shaman by everyone who knows him. Shaman's life is difficult. First, he must learn to speak so that he can take his place in the hearing world, and then he must fight against the prejudices of a society where physical differences matter. As Shaman struggles to achieve his identity, the Coles, along with the rest of America, are drawn into the conflict between the North and the South.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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