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Grenfell of Labrador

When British doctor Wilfred Grenfell arrived in Newfoundland in 1892 to provide medical service to migrant fisherman, he had no clear sense of who his patients were or how they lived - a few weeks on the Labrador coast changed that. Struck by both the rugged beauty of the place and the difficulties faced by those who lived there, Grenfell devoted the rest of his life to improving theirs. At first an evangelical missionary of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman, Grenfell became part of philanthropic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Raising funds in Canada and the United States, he founded a network of hospitals, nursing stations, schools, and home industries that exists in a modified form to this day. In 1908, the story of his survival after a night marooned on a drifting patch of ice transformed him into a popular hero. He eventually became one of the most successful lecturers of his time. Ronald Rompkey tells the story of Grenfell's education, his Anglo-Saxonism, and his devotion to broader issues of hygiene and public health. Above all, Rompkey shows that Grenfell went beyond being a doctor or a missionary to become a cultural politician who intervened in a colonial culture. "Grenfell of Labrador" provides a vivid picture of the man himself and the social movements through which he worked.
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The best-selling biography of Wilfred Grenfell, back in print


"A tale well-told ... one welcomes the revival of a hero who was a legend within living memory." The Northern Mariner "This critical yet empathetic biography should be required reading for those interested in outpost life in Newfoundland or Labrador in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." Canadian Book Review "A meticulous and fascinating biography ... there is little doubt in my mind that this will become the standard biography of Grenfell for years to come." Newfoundland Quarterly "Well-written, informative, and a joy to read." Social History of Medicine "There is an abundance of social history here and all of it is worth knowing." The Globe and Mail "The book's strength is its definitive portrait of Grenfell himself - willful, disorganized, childish, authoritarian, enthusiastic and genuine, a son of the 19th century who had to be shunted aside as 20th century professionals secularized the mission and saved it from its founder's mismanagement." The Toronto Star "Rompkey's book is an impressive portmanteau of long-needed facts about Grenfell and his dedicated band, rather than just successful evocation of a remarkable individual." The Independent

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