While vacationing with the Shaws on Brioni Island in the spring of 1929, boxing champion Gene Tunney's new bride Polly suddenly developed acute appendicitis; as they were far from professional medical help, her condition was gravely serious. Sitting alongside Tunney as he desperately prayed for Polly's recovery, Bernard Shaw, a professed atheist, was profoundly moved not only by his friend's faith but also by witnessing those prayers inexplicably and miraculously answered. Shaw's subsequent recollection of those events reveals that he respected prayer and that it broadened his definition of the human spirit. The experience also deepened the close friendship between the two men.

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