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For immediate release

Biographical Novel COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT by Mary Schwaner

(Colorado woman is subject of Nebraska author’s novel)


LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, June 4, 2018—Set in the decades between 1928 and 1945, this sweeping novel of one family’s survival of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp will horrify and inspire. Cast in biographical novel format (in the manner of Hillebrand’s Unbroken), COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT follows the experience of Dorothy Kinney, M.D., who took her medical skills from Colorado to remote India in 1928. In her first days, she performed surgery in an open air shed that had no electricity or running water. Midnight operations were lit by simple kerosene lanterns, with the sounds of the encroaching jungle never far from her ear.

In ten years she built the hospital to a fully enclosed modern building with running water, electricity, and the love of the people of remote Assam. Her one great love was healing, until she met Fred Chambers, an American missionary in Jorhat.

Dorothy and Fred married in 1936, and in 1939—with 2-year-old Carol Joy, and four months pregnant with Bobby—sailed to the Philippines to begin their new missionary post in Iloilo. One day after boarding the ship, war was declared in Europe. Many left the ship in Hawaii and returned to safer environs. Dorothy and Fred stayed on board.

For two years Dorothy practiced medicine at Iloilo Hospital on the Philippine island of Panay while Fred took the post of president at Central Philippines University. When the Japanese army threatened invasion, they had a decision to make: escape to the hills and hide out with the other missionaries, or stay with the hospital. They chose to stay. Those who went into the hills were found by the Japanese and killed. Even the children.

Dorothy, Fred, Carol Joy (now 4 years old) and Bobby (18 months old) were taken from the hospital into a Japanese prison in Iloilo. For fourteen months they scrounged for food, greatly aided by the kind Filipinos. But on June 21, 1943, they were moved to the large prison in Manila, the converted campus of Santo Tomás University. There, along with four thousand others including four hundred children, they nearly starved. Yet Dorothy kept at her work, and during the time the children of Santo Tomás were in her care she did not lose a single child to injury or disease.

When General MacArthur liberated the camp in February of 1945, they discovered for the first time that the Japanese commandant had been ordered to kill every prisoner and abandon the camp. The date for their execution? Less than one day after MacArthur’s daring rescue.

This is their story.


For more information contact the author Mary Schwaner at (402) 730-6768 or

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