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A Parable of Wise Leadership and Community Building
by William H. Thomas, M.D.
ISBN: 978-1-889242-10-1 / ISBN-10: 1-889242-10-1, $14.95, paperback
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Table of ContentsTable of Contents
About the AuthorAbout the Author
Reading Group GuideReading Group Guide
Media Room

Containing a story
formerly titled
“Learning from Hannah”

A renowned medical doctor uses the power of a good story to share his passion for the healing power of community. Bill and Jude, a hard-working professional couple, plan a long overdue vacation. When their sailboat capsizes in a storm, they are violently wrenched from the life they have known. They narrowly escape death and awaken in a land called Kallimos. Fearful and angry at first, they come to trust the old woman Hannah, who is in charge of their care, and the even older woman Haleigh, who is in charge of the community’s garden. From these women, they learn the wisdom of Kallimos, and in time, they accept their new life. Acceptance turns to love—so strong that when Bill and Jude are again torn away, they suffer a spiritual breakdown. Bill tries to bring the wisdom of Kallimos into his work, as a doctor in a nursing home, only to learn that it won't be as easy as he thought.
By writing a semi-autobiographical account in parable form, Dr. William H. Thomas enables you to feel the extremes that our elders feel who are relegated to nursing homes, which historically have been organized by a coldly clinical, medical model of care. Bill and Jude’s storied experience mirrors a sad reality but also provides a wealth of ideas for changing everything.
In addition, Dr. Thomas has expanded the Afterword in this paperback edition, to inform readers about ongoing real-world efforts since the time his parable was first published (under the title Learning from Hannah). His “Eden Alternative” program has achieved international success and is now being used in many nursing homes to fight the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. At the same time, Dr. Thomas is calling for an end to nursing homes altogether in favor of a community-based, shared-living option he calls the Green House. The Green House model is inspired by the richness of close personal relationships and the healing power of community.
As Dr. Thomas says, “In time, the last nursing home will close and I will be there to watch the lights go out.”

Praise for the original publication of the parable:

“Thomas folds a fictional story into a charmingly written autobiography to provide an idealistic lesson for contemporary U.S. society.”Booklist, American Library Association

“A splendidly visionary novel and wonderfully inspired reading.” Midwest Book Review

ForeWord Magazine

(for original parable published as
Learning from Hannah)
Honored by Independent Publisher IPPY awards

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