Memoirs of a Red Cross Doctor

Better to Light a Candle

Frank Ryding

Date Published :
November 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
40 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781526716880

Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 248
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Synonymous with conflict and humanitarian aid, the mandate of the International Red Cross (ICRC) is to protect the wounded victims of war, civilians, prisoners and refugees alike.

In Memoirs of a Red Cross Doctor, Frank Ryding recounts the missions he undertook with the Red Cross during a career spanning 35 years. Having worked as a doctor in many of the world’s war zones and natural disasters – from the 'killing field' era of Cambodia, to Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Pakistan and Sudan – his is an account of observation and also personal experience, contrasting the serious, the terrifying, the heart-rending and the heartwarming.

It is also the story of the victims who suffer the consequences of war and disaster. It shows both their courage and that of the aid agencies sent to help them. As Frank recalls from some Somali graffiti: ''It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."

About The Author

Dr Frank Ryding is an anaesthetist from Hereford who started working for the International Red Cross in 1981. His Red Cross experiences were made into several programmes for BBC Radio 4: ‘Letters from the Front Line’ and the programme ‘Friday Lives’ won the ‘Sony Award for Best Feature’. He was awarded an OBE for ‘Services to the Red Cross and the campaign to ban land-mines’. Outside medicine, he writes plays, runs a hospital choir and lectures on architecture. In another life, he spent 2½ years on the ice on two expeditions with the British Antarctic Survey anaesthetising elephant seals.


The memoirs are an eye-opening insight into the work of the Red Cross in the war-torn places of the world. The memoirs give a good account of the patience and dedication of the staff from all over the world of the ICRC. They also show humanity at its best - selflessly tidying up the mess that others have created!

- County Post

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