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290 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 community as a result of his status as a doctor presenting a treatment based on scientific factors of irritation, endocrine imbalance, and viral infection. Rene Caisse offered a herbal tea, a combination of burdock root, sheep sorrel, rhubarb root, and slippery elm bark, called >Essiac= (>Caisse= spelled backwards), to destroy cancer cells and to remove toxins from the body. A nurse by training, Caisse did not enjoy similar professional support. Despite her popularity among the laity, her work drew much opposition and outright scepticism from the medical community. Moreover, Hett and Caisse kept their remedies secret, further raising the eyebrows of the profession. According to Clow, >Connell was described as an experimenter ... Hett was depicted as maverick ... Caisse was considered a quack.= In the final chapter, we learn that the cancer treatments of Connell, Hett and Caisse did not survive the postBSecond World War era when the authority of scientific medicine left no room for alternative practices. What makes this story of power and cancer care particularly gripping is the patient experience, a surprisingly overlooked component in many historical studies of disease and treatment. Clow describes how Beatrix Leacock, wife of Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock, more calmly accepted the fate of her breast cancer than her husband did, dying only weeks after her diagnosis. In contrast, M.A.M. sought out Rene Caisse in hopes that this alternative treatment would cure what surgery and radiation had not. Dorothy Morrow pleaded with physicians to be more alert to cancer symptoms after she was misdiagnosed. I want to see, as I think Clow does, patients exercising >power= within the professional and political context of cancer care treatments of the period. Instead their stories saddened me. In the end, it seemed to me that the disease itself held the most power. Despite the plurality of medical treatments offered for this dreaded disease in the first half of the twentieth century, no one B conventional or alternative medical practitioner B provided the decisive cure for cancer. Twentyfirst -century medicine continues to look for a cure B conventional or otherwise B and in the process pays more attention to patient decision-making practices. Clow reminds us that personal decisions about disease and healing have long been exercised, particularly in the case of a disease that has claimed, and continues to claim, so many lives. (SHELLEY MCKELLAR) Stephen L. Endicott. Bienfait: The Saskatchewan Miners= Struggle of >31 University of Toronto Press. xi, 180. $21.95 A slender volume of well-written prose, Stephen Endicott=s book focuses on a tumultuous strike of Saskatchewan miners in 1931, during the Great Depression. The incident is remembered in Canadian working-class history for its brutality, as three strikers, participating in a motorcade in support of the miners= demands, were shot by the RCMP. humanities 291 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 The book is yet another celebration of the role of the Communists in the labour history of Canada, for the miners sought support from the Workers= Unity League (WUL), a creature of the Communist party of Canada, a supporter of its policies, and an affiliate of the Red International. Endicott=s perspective causes him to minimize the ultimate failure of the strike to win union recognition. He leaves unexplained why WUL leaders briefly left the scene after the disastrous motorcade ended in police violence and repression of citizens= civil liberties. He implies that the WUL ended its affiliation with the Red International, without at the same time mentioning that in 1935 the WUL disbanded itself as a result of a directive from the Soviet Union=s Comintern, so that contact remained close throughout that union=s existence. He also infers incorrectly that the WUL was a precursor of postBSecond World War social unionism, which was actually the outcome of the CIO industrial union movement in Canada associated politically with the democratic socialist party, the CCF, and not the Marxist, theoretically revolutionary Communist party of Canada. Readers will enjoy this book so long as they are aware of the author=s perspective. The book nonetheless is good social...


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