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Book Title: Citadele|
The author of the book: A.J. Cronin
The size of the: 15.55 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.6
Date of issue: 1983
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
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The Citadel is the morality tale of the initially idealistic Scottish Doctor Andrew Manson who starts off working in the mining towns of the South Wales valleys (view spoiler)[ where he makes liberal use of explosives to remedy public health nuisances (hide spoiler)] before descending into the vanity fair of fashionable London doctors, who specialise in conditions which cost a lot of money to treat, where he reaches a crisis point before returning to the narrow path of virtue.
In the Welsh Valleys Manson encounters the diseases of poverty exacerbated by poor housing conditions and industrial injuries, leaving behind the celtic fringe for the slightly shabby attractions of London where he encounters the diseases of the rich, such as hypochondria, which as everyone with a taste for earning money knows, is best treated with inflated bills and quack treatments.
It is clearly a book of its time. Published in 1937 this is Britain before the National Health Service, it is critical of the then private for profit system of Doctors' practices which makes for a nice moral contrast between success in this world and the disturbing possibilities of an ideal of the Doctor as someone using their skills to help the sick.
Several kinds of solutions can be offered for this dichotomy. This book doesn't predict the National Health Service or imagine anything near as wide ranging, although it is sometimes said to have paid a role in bringing it about. Cronin, who was a Doctor himself, imagines instead something like the Polyclinics of the Soviet Union staffed by a mixed group of medical personnel devoted to the ideal of healing rather than of earning money. Individual virtue rather than structural change is as far as he goes. I suppose this is often the imagined answer because we can imagine that we might, if well supported, be able to practise individual virtue, while massive structural social change seems a bit fantastical, in the event the Second World war occurred and the practise of national mobilisation produced a profound shift in thinking which dominated the country until the end 1970s. But Cronin wasn't to know that in 1937.
In this book Cronin has a weakness towards tell don't show, rather than letting characters emerge through their dialogue or actions and his use of Manson's wife - really potentially an interesting figure in her own right - is wasteful. But he tells here a lively story of aspiration and corruption. The Northern Light had more flashes of skill down at the sentence level but suffered from a super abundance of potential plot directions, this is a simple story but that makes for a better book.
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Read information about the authorArchibald Joseph Cronin was a Scottish novelist, dramatist, and non-fiction writer who was one of the most renowned storytellers of the twentieth century. His best-known works are The Citadel and The Keys of the Kingdom, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films. He also created the Dr. Finlay character, the hero of a series of stories that served as the basis for the long-running BBC television and radio series entitled Dr. Finlay's Casebook.
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