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Doc Susie Mass Market Paperback – June 22, 1992

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,263,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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BOY, WHAT A TRULY WONDERFUL BOOK TRUE STORY OF ONE VERY SPECIAL LADY DOCTOR AND CORNER. SUSAN ANDERSON WAS A SMART PRETTY STORNG WOMAN I JUST LOVED THIS BOOK ABOUT HER LIFE I WANT TO READ ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT .HER I WILL GO AND LOOK ANOTHER BOOK BY SOMEONE ELES SO I CAN COMPAIR THE TWO OF THEM. I LOVE THIS SERIES OF BOOKS ABOUT WOMAN OF THE WEST. AND YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK ALSO.
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The story was interesting but one felt that the author added much from supposition rather than facts.
Your have to admire a woman in that time period eho goes such a cold miserable place to live and practice medicine.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While Doc Susie’s story is interesting and inspiring in itself, author Virginia Cornell’s narrative approach is what makes the biography so compelling. Cornell grew up in Hideaway Park, two miles from Fraser where her parents established Miller’s Idlewild Inn near the West Entrance Portal to the Moffat Tunnel, which figures so prominently in the book . After she received her PhD in Renaissance English Literature from Arizona State University, she returned to manage her family’s ski resort as well as own and edit a small newspaper, the Winter Park Manifest. This fusion of Rocky Mountain resident, research scholar, and popular journalist combines to make Doc Susie one of the most readable and authentic biographies that I have encountered in a long time. First, Cornell knows firsthand the flora, fauna, climate, and personalities that make up small mountain communities, so the setting through which she moves her protagonist comes refreshingly alive. In this description, Cornell describes a barn dance. “Carrying baskets of fried chicken and potato salad into the bright interior of the barn she [Doc Susie] admired the clean-scrubbed pine floor, sprinkled with corn meal so the dancers could spin and shuffle even faster than if the floors had been newly waxed. Evergreen boughs and wildflowers were strung between stall braces. At one end, a planked platform for the musicians had been laid over tree stumps. Walking across the crunchy barn floor Doc enjoyed successive waves of smells: fresh pine, hay, rotted manure, neat’s-foot oil used on tack and harnesses, cinnamon cookies, lemonade”(118).Read more ›
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