When Patrick Gillies graduated from the University of Edinburgh’s distinguished school of medicine in 1890, a high-profile career as a surgeon lay ahead of him. Any city across the world would have welcomed him, yet contrary to expectations, he returned to his home town of Easdale, determined to continue the work his father had begun as a physician to the parishioners of the Slate Islands. Over the next forty years, as well as working as a GP, Patrick involved himself in every aspect of the community. His early campaign against the closure of Cullipool School set the trend for a life spent investigating everything, from the drainage systems to preventative medicine, and fighting for improvements such as an isolation hospital for the Slate Islands and better medical provisions for school children. Mary Withall’s thoughtful and engaging book is more than a biography of this extraordinary man; it also paints a remarkable picture of Scotland over the first half of the 20th century.