Cold Land, Warm Hearts

Cold Land, Warm Hearts

More Memories of An Arctic Medical Outpost

Book - 2010
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Midpoint Books
In 2008 Keith Billington's surprise bestseller, House Calls by Dogsled: Six Years in an Arctic Medical Outpost, vividly described Billington and his wife Muriel's experiences providing medical care to a string of isolated First Nations settlements in the Northwest
Territories during the 1960s. In Cold Land, Warm Hearts: More Memories of an Arctic Medical Outpost, Billington dishes up more of the hair-raising and heartwarming stories about medical emergencies and Native traditions that made his first book such a hit. In one story, he and his RCMP escort get more than they bargain for during a patrol of hunting camps as they find their loaded dogsleds plunging over a massive waterfall, which is only navigable owing to the fact it is frozen solid.

Time and again the Billingtons are awoken in the wee hours to find a life-threatening emergency unfolding before their sleepy eyes, which frequently ends by lighting a makeshift airstrip with rolls of toilet paper soaked in kerosene so a steel-nerved bush pilot can be summoned on a pitch-dark mercy flight to the hospital in Inuvik. Through it all Keith and Muriel become ever closer to the Gwich'in people of the North who serve as foster grandparents to their growing family and in whose life dramas the Billingtons
inevitably become involved. In this book Keith and Muriel return to their northern haunts after the passage of more than a quarter century and learn the endings to many of the stories started in the first book. They are moved beyond tears to discover their old medical post in Fort McPherson replaced by a modern two-storey facility named for their faithful Gwich'in assistant, William Firth.

Grippingly written and infused with great warmth, Cold Land, Warm Hearts is an absorbing adventure story that rounds out the Billingtons' Arctic saga with a deepened understanding of the far North and its people.

Publisher: Madeira Park, B.C. : Harbour Pub., 2010
Description: 293 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781550175349
Branch Call Number: 610.73092 Bil


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May 24, 2013


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