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A medical student at Stanford in the ‘70s is prompted by a needless death of a patient to question his medical training.
His investigation inspires him to look to his Native American Cherokee roots to discover a holistic view of healing that sees illness as a response to an imbalance in the patient’s life. His journey to his tribal lands and willingness to learn from his elders brings to his readers an appreciation for the techniques of holistic medicine.
Worried that his status as a half breed will impede his acceptance into the tribal ways his story is as much about finding his place in the world as it is about traditional healing methods.
Lewis Mehl-Madrona is also a competent writer able to bring to the page historical background and tales of healing in a compelling manner while moving the story along with his own personal journey. His healing of a woman with endometrial cancer is his coup de grace near the end of his journey.
It also becomes clear that his status between the two worlds of modern medicine and tribal medicine is what allows him to become a bridge between the two though he is too humble to point this out.