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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 22, 2006

Historian Gordon Taylor Reads On WSUI Feb. 28

Historian Gordon Taylor will read from his new book, "Fever and Thirst: A Missionary Doctor Amid the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

The broadcast will originate in a free event hosted by Julie Englander in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Listen on the Internet at

The doctor in Taylor's account was Asahel Grant of Utica, New York, who in the 1830s, with his new bride, explored the mountains of northern Iraq and Kurdistan, finding much of the same in-fighting that exists there today.

George Cohen wrote for Booklist, "They traveled to Turkish Kurdistan under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. His purpose was to preach Christianity and bring Western medicine to the Nestorian people there.

"Taylor describes their lives; crude huts made of branches were their homes, and many of them were sick from dysentery and cholera. Grant was overwhelmed with patients, and in addition to his medical practice, he taught in the mission schools. Taylor recounts Grant's journeys; he had to climb passes, ford rivers, and somehow avoid bandits to get from village to village.

"It is a harrowing story of disease, misfortune, and sometimes death (Grant's wife and twin baby girls died there in 1840), but it is an enthralling account of one man's endeavor to help those in need."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,