Frank G(ill) Slaughter Margaret Wallace - Essay

Margaret Wallace

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Dr. Frank Slaughter is now Major Slaughter of the Army Medical Corps, and the wonder is that he finds time to write novels at all. So it is probably ungrateful to wish that he had spent more time on "Battle Surgeon." It is, as it stands, a fast-moving, romantic, none-too-credible adventure story about a field hospital unit….

In the popular magazines the accepted formula for a love story hero is "men as women wish they were." Capt. Rick Winter, one supposes, fits this formula to the last angle of his lean profile. He can do a smooth splenectomy and a mean rumba….

There is plenty of room for good yarns of this sort, and "Battle Surgeon" is a good one. There would be little for any reviewer to object to if Dr. Slaughter had not given us reason to look for something more ponderable. He gave promise—and still does—of leading the field of medical novelists. He can make an account of a surgical operation every bit as exciting as a tank battle, and a good deal clearer. Even when it is draped on a skeleton of plot as machine-made as that of "Battle Surgeon" his technical writing commands the fascinated attention of the lay reader.

Margaret Wallace, "Doctor in Tunisia," in The New York Times Book Review (copyright © 1944 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), February 27, 1944, p. 21.