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Suburban Shaman

Tales from Medicine's Frontline

Price: £12.99
Suburban Shaman is a previous BBC Radio Four Book of the Week from GP and academic Dr Cecil Helman.
Author(s): Cecil Helman
Cecil Helman’s unique combination of frontline health worker and detached academic informs the many stories that make up this fascinating book. It also informs his insights into what human suffering can teach us about ourselves and our own attitudes to health and illness, whether we are deliverers or recipients of health care.

With insight and compassion, Dr Helman’s stories take the reader on a journey from apartheid South Africa, where he did his medical training, to the London of the early 1970s, where for a short time he foreswore medicine to become an anthropologist and poet; from ship’s doctor on a Mediterranean cruise to family practitioner in London; from observing curative trance dances in the favelas of Brazil to interviewing sangomas in South Africa.

While trained in the Western tradition and with many years of practice in that system, Dr Helman’s anthropological insight led him to view illness in a wider personal, social and cultural context, considering elements beyond the purely physical. In pleading for this holistic approach his writing celebrates family medicine which ‘in its quiet and unassuming way, and every day of the week, is still at the very frontline of human suffering’.
Readers who deliver - or receive - health care.
ISBN: 978-1-905140-08-4
Publisher: Hammersmith Books
Publication: 26 January 2006
Cecil Helman was a family practitioner in London while also developing a distinguished academic career and, latterly, finding success as the author of Suburban Shaman: tales from medicine’s frontline, which was read on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in 2006. For it he won the Royal College of General Practitioners' Abercrombie medal ‘for an outstanding contribution to the literature of general practice’ and the Book of the Year award from the Society of Medical Writers in 2007 . He sadly died of motor neurone disease in 2009.