By Clark Isaacs, Clark’s Eye on Books
Dr. Kenneth D. Jackson’s “Manifest West” is a very good debut novel for which he does not have to seek a second opinion on whether or not it is worth reading. Jackson states this book has been welling up inside of him for the past 30 years while he practiced medicine both in the Anglo community and out on the Indian reservations of Arizona.
He is the physician who is emblematic of the ‘The Hippocratic Oath’ and exemplifies his credo by living it day by day treating those who do not have a lot of exposure to the medical world of modern medicine, because of their living in remote areas. He goes weekly, not for recognition or glory, but because he cares and wants them to live better, healthier, lives.
The background of Jackson’s life had laid the groundwork for him to write about a doctor who treated patients in the remote area of Southwestern Arizona on the Fort Apache Reservation. The main character is Dr. Michael Ganson, who made a questionable decision while treating a patient who had come to his hospital during his emergency room residency. His decision proved to be fatal. The pregnant mother died and her child lived. Unfortunately, Ganson’s life was now ruled by the medical profession who banished him to a simplistic practice in a rural community. He was restricted with regard to the type of medicine he could practice and was constantly confronted with situations which would have made the less timid turn away from the medical profession entirely.
Exploration of several Indian customs and traditions are featured in this novel. Coming from a society of big city living we are not generally cognizant of the Indian way of life. Medicine men that have treated their patients without the benefit of modern pharmacology were able to gain respect from their fellow tribesmen because they healed with unrefined natural herbs. Dr. Jackson discusses the role of the Medicine Man in modern society through the eyes of Dr. Ganson. A very enlightening set of observations demonstrated that two very different medical men were able to show respect for each other. This story is keenly perceptive on the part of author Jackson as he unfolds a series of conflicts and mystery in penning his tale after so many years.
Perseverance of a cause is what this book is about. It demonstrates that good in people can overcome many obstacles. Dr. Ganson epitomizes this concept. Dr. Jackson has demonstrated that he indeed can be called an author. One who has described locales with emotion, conflicts without swearing, and warmth because of his deep love of the West. These elements, together with his medical knowledge, make “Manifest West” a wonderful read which will leave you wanting to read his next book that might be written sooner than in 3 decades. This book is highly recommended.
Author: Kenneth D. Jackson
Pages: 450, Publication Date: 2009,
Published by: WhoooDoo Mysteries, a division of Treble Heart Books
Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. Contact Clark through his website at clarkisaacs.ning.com or through NewsBlaze.