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Doc Susie Mass Market Paperback – June 22, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

The digging of the Moffat Tunnel provided catastrophe, graft, and humor. Accidents and weather made each day a fresh experience. This active and human story mixes in just the right amount of cynicism to make it believable.

Review

Doctor Susan Anderson was a rare women, indeed: a female frontier doctor who searched for health, success and romance in the wild western lands of the Colorado Rockies. Her true experiences are recounted by Cornell, who met the elderly Doc Susie when Cornell was a young girl. Three years of research have contributed to a biography which reads like an adventure novel. -- Diane Donovan, The Bookwatch

In 1943, after reading about her in Pic Magazine, Ethel Barrymore wrote to Susan Anderson and offered to buy the dramatic rights to her life. "Doc Susie," then 73, responded "Fiddlesticks." Ethel Barrymore had good instincts: Doc Susie's life was dramatic. Virginia Cornell's straightforward, accessible biography begins in 1907 when Susan Anderson, already a practising physician, is dying of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-seven. She takes a death-defying train ride to the tiny, isolated high-altitude town of Fraser, Colorado, where she cures herself, then stays on for the next fifty-one years to treat the resident population of loggers, farmers, railroad personnel, and tunnel diggers. An opinionated woman, she is eager to lecture rural patients on the importance of vitamins, swing an axe at an illegal still, or tell off a farmer for treating his cows with more care than his pregnant wife. She refuses to use or prescribe any drugs, even painkillers. When telephones are installed, she tries one, then gets rid of it. She never buys a car; instead she hitches rides on horses, cars, and trains (sometimes on the cowcatcher if the ride is short). Virginia Cornell's years of research bring to life both Susan Anderson and her time, teaching the reader both about an independent, strong-willed woman and about the human cost of the logging and railroad industries that are integral to the history of the northwestern United States. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (June 22, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804109567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804109567
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

So well written that I felt like I was there.
PEH
A true story of an early female who became a highly respected doctor on the west slope of the Rocky Mountains.
Kenneth Ryan
Doc Susie was truly an inspiring story of a dedicated woman.
Della Baker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Starma 3@aol.com on December 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
The reader feels the cold, the isolation geographically and as a woman entering a "man's" profession. Cornell's way with words draw us into a world little known to most of us, but one that expresses the hardiness of women in particular and Americans in general. Well researched and well written. It's not difficult to see that the author of Doc Susie had a passion for exposing Doc Susie's true grit, compassion and adventuresome spirit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story covers the trials and tribulations of a single
female doctor coping with the hardships of living in
the western U.S. in the late 1800's. The medical &
daily language used is authentic and reminiscent of
that period. Very easy reading filled with heart
warming experiences. The story is based on the life of a true
pioneer woman Dr. Susan Anderson struggling for
acceptance in the harsh environment of the lumber
camps, gold mines and railroad towns of the Rockies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Ferry on December 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a worthwhile book for those who enjoy reading about 19th and early 20th century medicine, or the trials of women country doctors. It does not venture into the medical beliefs of the time, but one can gather this information reading between the lines. Doc Susie's story inspires awe at the great sacrifices she made in order to practice medicine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The story covers the trials and tribulations of a single
female doctor coping with the hardships of living in
the western U.S. in the late 1800's. The medical &
daily language used is authentic and reminiscent of
that period. Very easy reading filled with heart
warming experiences. The story is based on the life of a true
pioneer woman Dr. Susan Anderson struggling for
acceptance in the harsh environment of the lumber
camps, gold mines and railroad towns of the Rockies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Jackson on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We haphazardly follow Doc Susie from her arrival in the Colorado timber country (1905) to the end of her life. It reads like fiction, with much detail and reported, verbatim speech which has to be invented by the author. No dates are provided, and as her life progresses we have to guess from minimal clues what year we are in. Early in the story she lectures a young woman on the need for vitamins -- the first vitamin was discovered in 1913 and it looks to me to be an author's invented anachronism. The book DOES give a good picture of the people and times in that location.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Quilter Sammy on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Doc Susie embodied a hardy pioneer spirit in the face of dreadful odds. TB, a general disregard for women physicians and awful living conditions in the high country of Colorado pretty much sums up what she faced at her new post. Not to worry........she prevailed! While she longed for a traditional family (husband and children), it was not to be. She DID make a life for herself, regained her health and brought the best medical help available at the time to the people of the area. Whadda' gal!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann on December 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
This was great until the out-of-place harlequin-esque descriptions got thrown in, which altered the credibility and caliber of the book, but if you can overlook that, the rest is worth it. Also some persistent characterizations of the "Swedes" as dumb and immoral.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amie Pen on July 15, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Everyone I know who has read this book loves it. I am a Colorado history buff and have been to that area more than once and know that her life must have been incredibly difficult. What an impact she made on the lives of others by her dedication and sacrifices.
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