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Noah Gordon Books In Order

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Publication Order of Cole Family Trilogy Books

The Physician (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shaman (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Choices / Matters of Choice (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Noah Gordon is a literary and historical fiction author born in Worcester Massachusetts. He was born on Armistice Day on November 11, 1926, as the second child of Robert Gordon and his wife Rose Gordon. He was named after his paternal grandmother Noah Melnikoff that was deceased a few months earlier. He had been by all accounts a wonderful man who ran a bookbinding business. He had left Sarah Melnikoff, Noah’s grandmother behind and the woman who would be like a second mother to him lived with the family for more than three decades. Worcester, where the author spent much of his childhood was a working-class neighborhood and he has asserted that he loved it. As a teen, he went to Grafton Street Junior High School and was so certain that the Second World War would be over before he would be drafted. Three years later in 1945 he graduated from high school and was determined to fight for his country. He preferred service in the Navy but was not sure if they would let him in given that he was color blind and wore glasses. But then he heard that anyone that volunteered for the Navy would be let in even if they would be rejected by the Army or Air Force. He volunteered and was surprised when he was admitted to the US Infantry.

After Gordon was done with Infantry training at Camp Croft in South Carolina, he was sent to California, to an old Replacement Depot at Fort Ord. But his adventure was cut short when Harry Truman authorized the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His adventure was over before it began and he spent a few months working in San Francisco as an army clerk before he left. Like many of his colleagues, Noah Gordon benefited from the GI Joe Bill and headed to college. Even though his parents would have never had the money to take him to medical school, they pressured him to study medicine. Being a medical practitioner represented the security they had always wanted and never had and it was not lost on them that some of the last people to be sent to the gas chambers were death camp doctors. He acquiesced to their needs and took a premedical course which he did for one semester. Gordon decided medicine was not for him and changed his major to take journalism though he never informed his parents of the change. He had always wanted to be either a newspaperman or write the type of novels that he loved to read as a child and as a teen. It was while he was studying journalism at Clark University that he met Lorraine Seay who would become his future wife.

Noah Gordon graduated with BSc in Journalism in 1950 and a year later, he got his master’s degree in Creative Writing and English from Boston University’s Graduate School. Gordon then moved to New York where he got a job with Avon Publishing Company that needed a junior editor to work in the periodicals department. He spent two years at Avon and then moved to become a chief editor at Focus, a small size picture and news magazine. When they had their first child, they decided to go back home to Massachusetts to make a new life. Gordon would spend a year working freelance before he got a job working for “The Worcester Telegram,” his hometown paper. He was soon working for “Boston Herald” and thought that finally, his dreams were coming true. It was also during this time that he started writing paperback novels about nursing with one of them going on to become featured in Redbook Magazine. Noah was also writing medical and scientific articles that he sold to the likes of Medical Tribune, The Saturday Evening Post, Medical World News, Coronet, The Reporter, and The Saturday Review among several other periodicals. He had also been writing his novels and gave a manuscript he had written to his literary agent Patricia Schartle. To her delight and later terror she found him a book publisher that published his debut fiction novel “The Rabbi” in 1965.

“The Physician” by Noah Gordon introduces Rob J Cole, a man that believes healing is his calling. Even when all around him are doctors motivated by glory and greed, he stays true to his calling. He sacrifices and risks everything he had to study with Ibn Sina in Persia. The man is the greatest physician of the known world of the eleventh century and it is a great honor to study under his tutelage. It is a particularly poignant story that comes back full circle. Rob goes back to London after spending several years abroad. By comparing himself to other young men that stayed at home, he realizes that his experiences have taught him critical thinking, tolerance, and compassion. He is so much unlike his colleagues that fitting in is now a problem. Will he finally find a place that he can call home and be around a loving community and family? It would be a sweet relief for a person that has been an outsider and orphan since he was aged nine.

In Noah Gordon’s “Shaman,” Rob J Cole is a young Scottish doctor seeking tolerance and justice in the New World. The novel is set in 1839 Boston where Cole works under Oliver Wendell Holmes, the lead surgeon. But he is about to experience the evil and altruism that all human pursuits soon attract. He joins the civilian service of the Union Army and goes to live in the Illinois wilderness. He documents his experiences in a diary that is then read by Shaman his son who is also a doctor long after the death of his father. It is from the diary that they reconstruct Rob’s early years. He had built a prosperous life for himself as a sheep farmer and doctor before he had gone on to marry the haunted but beautiful Sarah. Rob J often retreats into the rewards and demands of his practice even as Makwa-ikwa the female Shaman deals with Sarah who has been blinded with jealousy towards Rob’s Indian soul mate. The search for the person that killed the female Shaman takes in other issues including pacifism, religious prejudice, and racial injustice among many others. Using emotional but serviceable prose, the author writes an absorbing story that blows the debut out of the water.

Noah Gordon’s “Matters of Choice” takes a different approach from the first two novels in the series. The author reexamines the contemporary medical setting that he has analyzed in The Death Committee. RJ Cole is a family doctor in his sixties living in Boston. He had left what had been a budding legal career to become a medical practitioner and now works to promote women’s rights. But she had been denied a chance to work at the top hospital because she had once worked in an abortion clinic which is a controversial thing in town. When her marriage runs out of steam, she decides to go into the countryside and make it as one of the best physicians in the Berkshires. But in the boonies, she gets into a relationship with a Jewish real estate agent, former rabbi, a recovering alcoholic and also arranges an abortion for the seventeen-year-old daughter of a single mother.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Noah Gordon

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