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Testimony of Two Men

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Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers becomes part of a sweeping chronicle of love, death, desire, and redemption.


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Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers becomes part of a sweeping chronicle of love, death, desire, and redemption.

30 review for Testimony of Two Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    This is one of my all-time favorites. Read this so many years ago and re-read it every so often. Set in the early 1900's, it tells the story of Jonathan Ferrier, the once-respected doctor of a small Pennsylvania town. His reputation is now in shreds due to the death of his young and very beautiful wife Mavis as the result of a botched abortion, for which Jonathan was arrested and tried. Acquitted of the crime, he is haunted by the past and in the process of selling his practice to a new doctor a This is one of my all-time favorites. Read this so many years ago and re-read it every so often. Set in the early 1900's, it tells the story of Jonathan Ferrier, the once-respected doctor of a small Pennsylvania town. His reputation is now in shreds due to the death of his young and very beautiful wife Mavis as the result of a botched abortion, for which Jonathan was arrested and tried. Acquitted of the crime, he is haunted by the past and in the process of selling his practice to a new doctor as the story opens. Politics, family drama and doomed romance are woven together with some history of the early days of "modern" medicine, when washing your hands between surgeries or patients was a "new-fangled" and possible foolish practice.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder

    I have been a voracious reader since childhood and I read this after viewing the miniseries of this book on TV. I don't really remember the miniseries all that well but I did end up reading the book after viewing the TV program while I Was a youngster in the 70s. This particular miniseries was never made into a DVD as far as I know. However, over the years I must have reread this book 100s of times. This is my #1 favorite book for all time. The story of the complex protagonist Jonathan Ferrier w I have been a voracious reader since childhood and I read this after viewing the miniseries of this book on TV. I don't really remember the miniseries all that well but I did end up reading the book after viewing the TV program while I Was a youngster in the 70s. This particular miniseries was never made into a DVD as far as I know. However, over the years I must have reread this book 100s of times. This is my #1 favorite book for all time. The story of the complex protagonist Jonathan Ferrier was compelling. I also enjoyed the medical history as well. Caldwell really brings the setting of the story to life with her phenomenal descriptions of everything from the people , to outdoor scenery, to clothing and furniture. I feel that I am right there in the middle of the story seeing what the characters in the book are seeing and experiencing with their senses. Caldwell is truly the outstanding painter of "word pictures" and that is just what I like and demand from my period reading material. She does an outstanding job of transporting the reader to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    Loved this book. I have my old copy which is yellowed, pages are dog-eared, notes in the margin. How it changed my life as a young girl. It's the book where I thought, "I might write a novel."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    Very nice to see this book so highly regarded here. It was the first novel by Taylor Caldwell that I read, back in 1972, I believe. I've re-read it twice since then. It's a powerful story with the author's traditional emotional and scenic detail, a fascinating story peopled with fascinating characters and relationships. Regrettably it's out-of-print at this time, along with almost all of Caldwell's other works. With the current interest in historical novels, I'd like to see some of her books mad Very nice to see this book so highly regarded here. It was the first novel by Taylor Caldwell that I read, back in 1972, I believe. I've re-read it twice since then. It's a powerful story with the author's traditional emotional and scenic detail, a fascinating story peopled with fascinating characters and relationships. Regrettably it's out-of-print at this time, along with almost all of Caldwell's other works. With the current interest in historical novels, I'd like to see some of her books made available again, especially this one. 01/19/10: Nice to see that Chicago Review Press will be reissuing TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN on April 1st - though paperback and hardcover copies of this book can often be found in used bookstores, it's been unavailable to the general public for far too long. And as Caldwell's books weren't considered particularly 'literary' when originally published, it's fitting that Chicago Review Press is the publisher. 3/12/10: I've been in one of those moods where I seem to flit from book to book without being engaged by anything, but a few evenings ago I picked up TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN on impulse, and that situation seems to be resolved for now! Despite remembering many of the particulars of the story, and how it all turns out, this remains a compelling read. 3/23/10: I finished my re-read of TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN this afternoon - I'll stand by my previous comments about the book's quality and emotional depth, though I honestly don't think some judicious editing would have hurt - some information was repeated several times, and occasionally Caldwell's eye for detailed descriptions caused the pace to flag (I've never encountered another author who used the word "and" as much as Caldwell), and some of the characters' speeches occasionally became long-winded and didactic (they no doubt reflected the author's views) - has anyone noticed that many of Caldwell's characters seem to be able to quote at length from political speeches, and scholarly and religious works? These quibbles aside, TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN, along with CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS, remains one of Caldwell's most readable - and re-readable - novels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    Prod Desc: Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers becomes part of a sweeping chronicle of love, death, desire, and redemption. I was introduced to the wonderful wri Prod Desc: Someday the town of Hambledon might forget the lies they told about their brilliant young doctor. But they could never forgive the truths he told about them. From this compelling story of a doctor at war with the world he has been taught to heal, Taylor Caldwell has fashioned a novel of an unforgettable, angry idealist -- a novel in which the drama of new medical frontiers becomes part of a sweeping chronicle of love, death, desire, and redemption. I was introduced to the wonderful writing of Taylor Caldwell while still in high school. From this book, I went on to read many more of her books. The sign of a really well-written story is when you can recall it from memory many years' later. I can so do with many of Calwell's book, and none more than this one. The book is filled with wonderful characters. Jonathan Ferrier fighting to modernize medical practices in his town and fought, and even vilified, by the old guard. The story contains the conflict of brothers, betrayal, and love. This is a story in which one becomes completely immersed and is superbly told, start to end. If you've not experienced this fine author, I highly recommend giving her a try. TESTIMONY OF TWO MEN - Ex Caldwell, Taylor - Standalone Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1968, US Hardcover - LOC 68-13137

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I'm giving it a 3- I think that I read it for the first time about 40 years ago, and it was one of my favourite books for many years. Re-reading it as an adult was a different story- it's still a good (if long) story, but I can see more faults than I used to. It certainly has a point of view, with very long preaching sections to emphasize it. It's difficult to find characters that aren't remarkably self-righteous about everything. I still do love the medical storyline- it was not an easy switch I'm giving it a 3- I think that I read it for the first time about 40 years ago, and it was one of my favourite books for many years. Re-reading it as an adult was a different story- it's still a good (if long) story, but I can see more faults than I used to. It certainly has a point of view, with very long preaching sections to emphasize it. It's difficult to find characters that aren't remarkably self-righteous about everything. I still do love the medical storyline- it was not an easy switch for the medical community in the U.S. to move to science-based rather than 'traditional' methods. But it's problematic, and I don't think that it's aged well. No African Americans in Pennsylvania, 'the poor' are depicted as morally deficient (with a few exceptions), the women are generally trivialized (with a very few exceptions)...if it was written in 1900 those attitudes might be explainable, but it was written in 1969. By the time I was done reading and went to look up Caldwell's wikipedia it was no surprise at all to learn that she wrote for the John Birch society, and was anti-semetic, and anti-equality. I wish that I hadn't re-read it as an adult.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I didn't love it, but didn't hate it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Keefner

    I might have more to say about this novel later. For now I'll say it's a great story about a larger-than-life physician trying to survive being moral (when he isn't being outrageously cynical) in an immoral world. Jonathan Ferrier is like all the positive characters in The Fountainhead rolled into a ball and kicked across the county.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Gripping reading. I found the characters fascinating and the insight into the nature of people really exciting. Didn't enjoy parts of the book - once or twice (not often), it was a little slow; also I felt some of the violence and sex described was unnecessarily crude or graphic.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ibarra

    Dr. Jonathan Ferrier was tried for the murder of his wife and unborn child, and was acquitted. Nevertheless, the people in his village, where he has worked and treated them all his life, have turned against him, certain that he is guilty. Accordingly, he has decided to leave as soon as his replacement, Robert Morgan, gets acquainted with his practice to whom he has sold. Ferrier is an excellent and modern doctor, with a keen eye for his diagnoses, which usually disagree with what older doctors s Dr. Jonathan Ferrier was tried for the murder of his wife and unborn child, and was acquitted. Nevertheless, the people in his village, where he has worked and treated them all his life, have turned against him, certain that he is guilty. Accordingly, he has decided to leave as soon as his replacement, Robert Morgan, gets acquainted with his practice to whom he has sold. Ferrier is an excellent and modern doctor, with a keen eye for his diagnoses, which usually disagree with what older doctors say. He is so straight-forward and apparently cold that people tend to believe he is wrong. Unfortunately, over and over again time has proven him right. He has become very bitter, feeling abandoned by his peers, the people he has helped so many times, and his family. He is now convinced that man is evil by nature, sometimes even worse than animals. While it is a very long novel, the author once again develops a character that does not follow what is expected and who apparently cares about nobody but himself. Excellent analysis of society and human beings.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jude

    It's been 45 years since I first read Testimony of Two Men, so I wasn't sure if it would live up to the memories. Just as good the 2nd time around! While I certainly remembered the gist of the story, there were so many details that I had forgotten over the years that it held me captive, once again. This author does have a tendency to get overly long in her descriptions, but it's easy to skim where those descriptions are not important to the plot. This does not detract from the story, in the long It's been 45 years since I first read Testimony of Two Men, so I wasn't sure if it would live up to the memories. Just as good the 2nd time around! While I certainly remembered the gist of the story, there were so many details that I had forgotten over the years that it held me captive, once again. This author does have a tendency to get overly long in her descriptions, but it's easy to skim where those descriptions are not important to the plot. This does not detract from the story, in the long run, so it's worth it to just push through. I'm so glad I re-read this book because I had such fond memories of having read it in high school. It did not disappoint!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zhiqing

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this from the first page to the last. This is Peyton Place and Tennessee Williams plays (and a little bit of Pride and Prejudice) all rolled into one, depicting the small town life at the turn of the 20th century, with its prejudices and all that pent up tension. The hero of the book, Jonathan Ferrier, is simply magnificent, and the evolution of medicine around that time was fascinating to read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Adam Collins

    Fascinating look at human nature I'll rarely read a book more than once, yet I've read this three times over a 40 year period. It is a fascinating story that dives into turn of the century medicine.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carleen

    Taylor Caldwell's "Testimony of Two Men" is a wonderful book. This is my second time around. I read it when it first came on on the shelves. 50 years later, it still has you think about man's humanity. Very timely.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bev Pfaff

    Enjoyed it a lot

  16. 4 out of 5

    Saubertk

    Long and wordy, but very well-written tale of a brash 1900 doctor, scorned by the town for a murder he did not commit, and his relationships. Seemed like an interesting old-fashioned classic to me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I had forgotten about Taylor Caldwell. I remember reading some of her books and somehow missed this one. I liked it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    An enjoyable read An enjoyable read and an interesting study of human nature. There was a miniseries made of this years ago; I think I'll see if it's available on Amazon!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Athena Papadopoulou

    Awful, repetitive and never ending.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Cetra

    Outstanding writing. Good novel. Definitely a good read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    This book was a bit of an odd mix for me. It's hard not to be impressed by the scope of it—600 fairly engrossing pages; there's nothing to argue with in the writer's overall technique—she spins a good story and knows her time period; and I was sympathetic to the basic premise of the novel. But I had several quibbles with the style of it. I appreciate that the author set out to write a book about the history of medicine and how those who pioneered the treatments we take for granted today were ofte This book was a bit of an odd mix for me. It's hard not to be impressed by the scope of it—600 fairly engrossing pages; there's nothing to argue with in the writer's overall technique—she spins a good story and knows her time period; and I was sympathetic to the basic premise of the novel. But I had several quibbles with the style of it. I appreciate that the author set out to write a book about the history of medicine and how those who pioneered the treatments we take for granted today were often fighting an uphill battle. As the author points out in the foreword: Few know the names of the men who brought asepsis to modern hospitals, and immunology, yet millions of us now living would not be alive now except for those men. Millions of diabetics are following healthy and productive lives because of insulin—but how many know the name of the man who saved them? Children are now in school who would have died except for the men who formulated vaccines for diphtheria and smallpox and poliomyelitis, but how many remember them? Scores of these heroes suffered ignominy, exile, ridicule and dishonor to save us. Some were driven mad and to suicide. Yet, they persisted. So far, so good. But I'm not sure the book really lives up to that premise. Jonathon Ferrier, the doctor-hero of the story, is certainly persecuted, but not so much because of his medical know-how. He's persecuted because, in the author's view apparently, he's a superior being and humanity is unworthy of him. It was there, that hostility, for many silent or whispering years. Jealousy of his merits, and talents, his family, and his money. Fury that he is exactly what he seems, and that he is uncompromising and loves excellence. He hates mediocrity, and we must confess that most men are mediocre, though considering themselves exceptional. Jon also hates farce and incompetence and even the polite, social hypocrisies. He is also very brave, and men suspect true bravery, being, in the majority, not brave at all. In other words, Ferrier is John Galt, Howard Roark and Dr. Praetorius all rolled into one. A superman/messiah who’s constantly being tormented by the lesser beings around him. Even when Caldwell tries to suggest that Ferrier’s troubles stem from his character flaws—he’s too intolerant of lesser mortals, he’s too abrasive, etc.,—she backs away from the idea and admits that everyone else is just too jealous to appreciate him. I found it exhausting to read about that sort of superhero. Especially when accompanied by such a pessimistic view of humanity:Men are not good; they are not kind; they are not just and tender and compassionate by nature. We are the most evil species this world has ever spawned, and I doubt we will ever be any better. Yikes. Caldwell seemed to believe the absolute worst of everyone. (She and Ayn Rand must have been soul sisters). The first half of the book is mostly made up of discrete episodes with elaborate back-stories that demonstrate the hero’s superiority and allow him to posture and rant and confound all the stupid people around him. And also prognosticate. Ferrier is quite the time traveler. The story takes place in 1901 but was written in 1968. That allows the author to put a number of astoundingly accurate predictions in Ferrier’s mouth: But he did not doubt for a moment that the politicians would soon find a way of buying a country through gigantic bribes, for their own power, and that way would be the way of a personal income tax, an evil which had inevitably destroyed every nation in the past. It was a ludicrous spectacle: politicians buying the souls and bodies of the people with the money stolen from their own pockets! Pretty spot on, that. And it’s just one of the many predictions Ferrier makes along the way including that cancer will become a more common problem than it was at the turn of the century and that modern art will dispense with discipline and drawing. Clearly, Caldwell was an author with a message to impart, and that usually doesn’t make for great fiction. Expository dialogue, unrealistic situations, and too many one-dimensional characters bog down what could have been an excellent read. I still enjoyed the story—what there was of it—even though the romance is tainted by Caldwell’s bizarre view of sexuality (very like Rand in that respect too). But there was just a little too much preaching for me, even though I was often sympathetic to the author’s point of view. I remember when Taylor Caldwell was a huge name. I remember watching the miniseries that were made from her books. And I remember reading and loving this novel way back in the day. Sadly, I don’t love it now.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cheri Lefkowitch

    This is my favorite book of all time. I first read it in 1978 right after the mini series with David Birney, and found the book to be much better. At the time I was a young nurse and was fascinated by the ignorance of the men who did so much harm to their patients with their refusal to accept asepsis and one man's if rather extreme fight with both his own nature and his intolerance for weaknesses in his fellowman.Jonathan Ferrier is my favorite fictional character and I promise myself if I ever This is my favorite book of all time. I first read it in 1978 right after the mini series with David Birney, and found the book to be much better. At the time I was a young nurse and was fascinated by the ignorance of the men who did so much harm to their patients with their refusal to accept asepsis and one man's if rather extreme fight with both his own nature and his intolerance for weaknesses in his fellowman.Jonathan Ferrier is my favorite fictional character and I promise myself if I ever had a son I would name him Jonathan. My son Jonathan is now 26! Many have said Miss Caldwell is too wordy, I think this novel is perfect the way it is and have read it every year or two ever since. I was lucky to find it in hard cover years ago and I cherish it. since by now it's no doubt out of print. If this excellent story isn't your cup of tea try Captain's and the Kings and Dear and Glorious Physician some of Caldwell's other phenomenal novels. You won't be disappointed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Excellent book, portraying not only the difficulty the medical profession had within its own ranks to recognize germs and the prevention of infection, but also the intricacies of human motive and behaviour in general. She is a master story-weaver. Taylor Caldwell, an excellent author, held positions in the US Department of Justice as well. Her books cover historical figures and well as fictional characters/stories which portray a historical period. But what I love is that she had understanding th Excellent book, portraying not only the difficulty the medical profession had within its own ranks to recognize germs and the prevention of infection, but also the intricacies of human motive and behaviour in general. She is a master story-weaver. Taylor Caldwell, an excellent author, held positions in the US Department of Justice as well. Her books cover historical figures and well as fictional characters/stories which portray a historical period. But what I love is that she had understanding the socio-political climes in which she sets her stories and it's interesting (or perhaps just sad) to read how nothing really changes. What was true of our socio-political world in 1900 and 1920 remains true today. We are not learning.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patricia dumas

    I first learned about sepsis and antiseptic from this book. I was amazed that the world thought there was no such thing as dying from little things you couldn't see called "germs" . Was a real eye opener in my 20's about medical history, and how hard some doctors had to fight to make other doctors wash their hands before delivering babies. Unheard of!! Nevertheless.. great story... After this, I can't get enough of medical history, medical history novels and the like. Was thoroughly entranced in I first learned about sepsis and antiseptic from this book. I was amazed that the world thought there was no such thing as dying from little things you couldn't see called "germs" . Was a real eye opener in my 20's about medical history, and how hard some doctors had to fight to make other doctors wash their hands before delivering babies. Unheard of!! Nevertheless.. great story... After this, I can't get enough of medical history, medical history novels and the like. Was thoroughly entranced in this novel. Even though I found out she wrote for the John Birch Society and was associated with an Anti-Semitic group. Oh well... another romantic dream hits the dust.. but, I'm glad I know... her novels are a bit preachy. Live and Learn. Live and Read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shanna

    My favorite Taylor Caldwell book. The main character sacrifices himself for a town that wrongfully hates him. He struggles with the problems of injustice and pain. He becomes cold as his service to the town is continually met with mistrust and rejection, yet he serves and eventually learns to love again and find hope. So well written. Caldwell is able to sharply focus the individual's struggle in a sea of cruel humanity and bring out the beauty of selfless sacrifice in the name of humanity. She My favorite Taylor Caldwell book. The main character sacrifices himself for a town that wrongfully hates him. He struggles with the problems of injustice and pain. He becomes cold as his service to the town is continually met with mistrust and rejection, yet he serves and eventually learns to love again and find hope. So well written. Caldwell is able to sharply focus the individual's struggle in a sea of cruel humanity and bring out the beauty of selfless sacrifice in the name of humanity. She brings out the best of humanity in the individual that struggles against humanity itself.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dwayne Roberts

    The e-book version I downloaded from Kindle was TERRIBLY edited. It had obviously been scanned, but unedited. Many times you'd read "hps" instead of "lips". Punctuation added or missing. There were probably as many such errors as pages. The book was interesting, but ultimately a let-down. The main character somewhat resembled Howard Roark from The Fountainhead, but learns the necessity to compromise – something Roark would never do. I thought of Ibsen's David Stockmann, also, but again his princi The e-book version I downloaded from Kindle was TERRIBLY edited. It had obviously been scanned, but unedited. Many times you'd read "hps" instead of "lips". Punctuation added or missing. There were probably as many such errors as pages. The book was interesting, but ultimately a let-down. The main character somewhat resembled Howard Roark from The Fountainhead, but learns the necessity to compromise – something Roark would never do. I thought of Ibsen's David Stockmann, also, but again his principles were abandoned. I wouldn't recommend this novel. There are better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debra Morrow

    This is an epic novel that has a little of everything; philosophy, medical history,love, sex, and a murder mystery. Yes, it is long, but it's the kind of book you can get immersed in. I looked forward to picking it up every night before bed! The characters are flawed, even the protagonist; and it is the struggle of these characters to do or not do the right thing that moves the story along. That story is unpredictable, exciting, and at times alarming. A great read for fun!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I first read this book probably over 30 years ago, and have read it at least once or twice more and would probably read it again. I could hardly get enough of Taylor Caldwell's books back then, and still treasure the ones I got from my Mom. This was made into a TV mini-series, one of the first of its kind, and it was intriguing - a family saga that unfolds over the years, with death and deceit an integral part. I want to go read it again!!!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Proctor

    The story was intriguing and the writing breathtaking at times. There were many passages where I thought I'd surely give the novel five stars just based on the beauty of the words alone. But ultimately, my emotional connection to the characters waned in the end and I just didn't feel as compelled or invested enough to award that final star. Still a read I don't regret. The thoughtful commentary on human behavior and judgement both inward and outward was reason enough.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Schultz

    I read a number of Caldwell's books back in the 1970's and thoroughly enjoyed them. At the time I found it interesting her mention of the International Bankers--very wealthy people who "control" governments and politics. Several of her novels center around this theme. This is probably the book, though, that I remember and enjoyed the most.

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