My Arabian Days and Nights

by Eleanor T. Calverly, M.D., 182 pages. New York, Thomas Crowell Company, 1958, $2.95

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The experiences of the first woman physician in primitive, poverty-stricken Kuwait from 1912 to 1929 are high-lighted by contrasts seen on a recent visit to this now oil-rich country. A personal account of the struggle to introduce Western medicine to Moslem women reveals many interesting glimpses of their family life, although most of the customs described will be familiar to those who have read at all widely in this field. Little of technical value in Tropical Medicine is included beyond mention of the various diseases encountered.

The author, whose husband opened a Mission school for boys, had to practice independently and in a separate part of the building from that used by the other Mission doctor who treated the men. From a description of preparing in trepidation for her first major operation with only uneducated assistants, the story progresses with many an aside about raising a family, social visits with Arab and British officials, and warfare among desert tribes, to an account of practice in a hospital assisted by a trained nurse.