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Honoured as a hero in China, Ontario-born Norman Bethune was a surgeon, medical innovator, and charismatic political activist who deployed his skills on the battlefields of Spain and China in the 1930s. His prodigious energy included inventing surgical instruments, mobile blood-transfusion units, teaching, and advocating for social justice at home and abroad. Adrienne Clarkson, a Chinese Canadian, has always been fascinated by the dynamic man who married his social conscience to his medical mission. Reviled as a Communist by some, revered as a humanitarian by others, Bethune was a complicated, inspirational figure who lived and loved on a large canvas.

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