R. Paul Robertson is a recently graduated American physician and medical scientist when he is sent to Egypt as a United States Naval Medical Officer. His life and that of his young family are met with a fascinating and challenging culture in Cairo as he focuses on his medical work, which involves caring for pediatric patients with typhoid fever by using new experimental antibiotics. An important part of his experiences involves a several month assignment to Meknes, Morocco where encounters yet another new culture filled with political interactions with local French physicians and Hassan II, the King of Morocco.
This book focuses primarily on the impact of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War on Dr. Robertson’s research and his forced evacuation out of Egypt. During this time, he carried his valuable collection of typhoid fever bacteria which required strategic maneuvering with Egyptian police and custom agents. His telling of these experiences is filled with poignancy and gentle humor. After finally boarding his flight to Boston, he successfully completes his laboratory research under the tutelage of several famous infectious disease scientists, followed by his first publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.