By James Fitzgerald. Random House. 2010. 512 pp.
A fascinating story with two streams.
One being the dramatic history of the founding of the Connaught Labs in Toronto. Tells of the visionary work of doctors determined to free the world of common diseases such as diptheria, whooping cough and diabetes. They literally transformed Canada’s public health system into a model for the world. They developed mass imuunization programs from serum production to national and international distribution. Includes convincing stories of the driven men and their obsessions and egos.
The second theme is a haunting story of depression and suicide of one of these doctors, John Fitzgerald, and that of his son, the author’s father. The Author walks again the paths of his grandfather around the world and meets survivors of those times. In the process of discussing his father’s and grandfather’s troubled inner lives, the author also lays out the horrifying history of treatments of mentally disturbed people in N. American mental hospitals for a century.