Dunmore, Helen. The Betrayal

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Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the post-war, post-siege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin’s merciless Ministry for State security. So when Andrei is asked to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are fearful. Trapped in an impossible, maybe unwinnable game, can they avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves?

Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 014104683X

Steven Oliver HYMS: I’d recommend this book which is a fictionalised account of the ‘Doctor’s plot’ in Stalin’s Russia – who would like to treat the son of the local secret police chief for osteosarcoma? I think it’s a good read, with some challenging ethical choices to explore about what it may mean to be a ‘good doctor’ in ‘bad times’.

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