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Rick Hill
The Apostle, the miraculous journey of Dr. G.B. Espy
Rick Hill, author
Dr. Goodman Basil Espy III, was born on January 8th, 1935---the same day, month and year as another boy from a sleepy southern town: Elvis Presley. Ironically, the two would share more than just birthdays, childhood poverty and poetic names. The son of an Army Captain, who served throughout FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps, Espy moved 16 times before the age of eleven. Despite so many chaotic relocations, Espy focused on family, faith and education to compensate for his insecurities. Espy's dramatic story cuts deep--not with the scalpel but with humility, compassion and a work ethic derived from the school of hard knocks. The story provides gut-wrenching inspiration and challenges the reader to seek their "higher purpose" attained through faith, courage and generosity. Each chapter builds on Espy's journey through life--tragic and divine, which transitions into how the experienced changed him for having lived it--what he learned and how it will enlighten the reader for having read it. A brutally honest tale of a man who overcame cruel poverty in rural Alabama, a strict military upbringing, the Palsy-related death of his beloved daughter and near financial ruin to become one of the most admired Humanitarians and OB-GYN doctors in America. "The Apostle" transcends medicine and the military--a genuine love story between mother and son, father and daughter, God and Man--an in-depth journey into life, death and resurrection. Whether performing life-saving surgery on the battlefields of Kosovo, pulling amputees from the earthquake rubble of Haiti, restoring the leg of an IED victim in Afghanistan or rescuing women and children from the ISIS' sex-slave traffic, Espy remains true to the golden thread of his core conviction: "when you shoulder the burden of the weak and wounded--you are preforming the work of God."
Hill (author of My Prison Without Bars) examines the life of Dr. Goodman Basil Espy, III, an inspiring physician who dedicated his life to serving others. Hill begins with Espy’s rural childhood, spent fishing and helping out on his grandfather’s farm in Alabama—a childhood that Espy treasured, though it was cut short when the attack on Pearl Harbor prompted his father to re-enlist in the military, leaving Espy, the oldest of four brothers, as the “family leader” at the tender age of six. Even from that age, Espy worked to discern his purpose, amid multiple family moves and life tragedies.

That purpose was challenging to nail down initially; though Espy felt a “Calling” to become a minister, his true desire was to pursue medical school. After much personal back-and-forth, he opted to follow his heart, entering the Tulane School of Medicine following graduation from Georgia Tech in the late 1950s. That decision eventually paid off, as Espy became a well-respected obstetrician who not only performed countless life-saving procedures domestically, but also traveled abroad to offer his expertise to underserved women in other countries. Hill covers Espy’s professional achievements alongside his personal struggles, including two failed marriages and the tragic death of his daughter, Anne, who suffered from epilepsy.

Espy’s Christian faith beats a steady rhythm throughout the narrative, sparking comfort when tragedy arrives and driving Espy’s constant desire to serve others. Espy, who traveled to several foreign counties on medical missions over the course of his life, vowed to put aside personal relationships after his second divorce, in an effort to focus solely on philanthropy. Hill includes personal anecdotes of Espy’s patients, as well as historical stories and photographs to anchor Espy’s experiences (including flashbacks to the Truman presidency, Al Capone’s role in Prohibition Chicago, and more). This will entertain readers who relish in-depth biographies accompanied by rousing historical context.

Takeaway: An inspiring medical biography celebrating Christian beliefs.

Comparable Titles: Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, J. Thomas Grant’s The Next Patient.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A