Courage in a White Coat

Courage in a White Coat

Book Cover: Courage in a White Coat

by Mary Schwaner

Prison camp, starvation, execution...all threaten her little family.

A true wartime drama based on the experience of Dorothy Joy Kinney Chambers M.D. and her family.

This sweeping biographical novel brings to life the dramatic experience of a valiant woman who, armed only with the white coat of her profession, found the courage to live her life on the razor’s edge and survived it. It’s a captivating story of service and sacrifice, of love and the searing emotions that gripped this missionary doctor throughout her imperiled course.

Dorothy Kinney had found herself in remote India in 1928, a medical missionary charged with building up a hospital for the women and children of Assam. The fledgling doctor began her practice in Gauhati, where her surgeries were performed by the light of a kerosene lamp in an open-air clinic with no electricity, no running water, and no sewer system. She left it ten years later a fully functioning modern hospital, with running water, electricity, and the complete devotion of the people of Assam.

It was there she fell in love.

Pregnant with their second child, Dorothy, her missionary husband Fred Chambers, and their daughter Carol Joy, set out on a voyage that would take them to their new missionary post in Iloilo, on the Philippine island of Panay. One day later War was declared in Europe.

She could not know that by the time her unborn baby turned eighteen months old her little family would be swept into a Japanese internment camp. With four thousand other prisoners of war she struggled to feed her little family in the prison at Santo Tomas, a place where hundreds died and most suffered starvation, until General MacArthur and his Flying column swept in with their daring raid to liberate the camp.

Many remember Dorothy Chambers in her white coat of courage, doctoring the children of the camp, never knowing that her little family would come within just twenty-four hours of execution. This is her story.

Excerpt:
Reviews:Kaye Miller on Amazon wrote:

Dick and I met Bob and Mame Chambers in 2005 in Lincoln Ne. We bonded on our first meeting because Mame and I were both Quilters and Dick and Bob were both pilots.
Little did I known what a history Bob had. He did mention it once in a while but until I read this book,did I have any idea of his back ground and his interesting family
Dr. Chambers was such a fighter,leader and beautiful Mother ,inspired by her faith ,that never left her regardless of the situation . She and her husband ,Fred, are an inspiration for all married couples. Their love for each other was evident in the lives of Bob and Carol . Bob and Mame have that same love for each other, and they are an inspiration to know . Several years ago Bob gave Dick one of his drawings that we both cherish very much .

Jdsneb on Amazon wrote:

This is a book you won’t forget. It is a biographical novel of a courageous missionary doctor and her family who become entangled in a Japanese internment camp in 1939. The book is based on authentic letters and photographs sent back to the United States with Dr. Dorothy Chamber’s plea to save all correspondence until their return.

Tears will be in your eyes and joy in your heart as the final chapters unfold.

Thank you to the Chambers family for entrusting author, Mary Schwaner, to diligently research and thread together Dr. Dorothy Joy Kinney Chamber’s life’s story. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Mamie M. Chambers on Amazon wrote:

A must-read! Sensitively-written, this no-holds-barred, true account of an American medical-missionary couple with their two young children describes their incarceration by the Japanese for three years in camps in Manila during WWII. The courage, strength, and will maintained during this ordeal will inspire all readers, as well as informing in detail a not-commonly-publicized experience. At the same time, there is no self-pity, bitterness, or self-aggrandizement, only a desire to return to continue their mission.


Granddaughter of a concert violinist, Mary Potter Schwaner began her musical career in elementary school with the family string quartet, but gave up the violin to study opera at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She devoted much time in her early career to performing, directing and promoting musical endeavors throughout Alabama, California and Nebraska. She was Founder/Artistic Director of the Young People’s Pocket Opera in Alabama. A move to California resulted in four years as Founder/Artistic Director of the Lake Forest Showboaters, a community music theatre company.

In Mary’s “other life” she was a computer tech support and graphic arts specialist and worked as Web Developer for the Nebraska Legislature, HDR Architecture and Engineering, for The National Arbor Day Foundation, and as Director of Web and Media Arts for St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

In her retirement she is a published author, writing novels of historical suspense under the name Bailey Bristol. Courage in a White Coat is her first biographical novel.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband of nearly five decades and joins him in doting on her grandchildren who, along with their parents—Ryan and Melissa and their spouses—are her dearest treasure.

Mary’s enduring motto remains: “May you have the vision and the voice to find new songs to sing.”

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