(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

This book was first published in 1942, and it reflects the literary style and tone of that period. Nothing negative is said about any of the characters presented in the pages of Soldier Doctor. Gorgas makes steady progress through life, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, through an iron-hard determination and exercise of will-power.

Gorgas is portrayed as a tightly focused individual from the age of ten. He admired the exploits of soldiers—perhaps because his father was a Confederate general in charge of manufacturing ammunition and weapons, or perhaps because he grew up in the Confederate capital, where soldiers were a constant topic of conversation and a focus of admiration. Whether it is a matter of attempting to lead the family cow to safety through the streets of burning Richmond, build a dam across a creek to create a swimming hole, or chase a fly ball across the outfield fence to save the day in a baseball game, Judson always presents Gorgas as a person of determination. These boyhood traits stood Gorgas in good stead as an adult when he was trying to eradicate epidemic diseases such as malaria and yellow fever without knowing even what caused them. The author makes clear her admiration for Gorgas because of these traits; she seeks to create sympathy for Gorgas while implying that the development of similar traits will lead to success on the part of the reader.

While Gorgas achieves remarkable success both as a soldier and as a doctor, Judson makes it clear that he remained an...

(The entire section is 626 words.)