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My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel Hardcover – May 13, 2010
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The following is by no means an exhaustive accounting of the myriad books that helped me to understand not only the Civil War and its effect on its participants, but also the 19th century and its transportation systems, cities, and values. If I were to inventory my bibliography it its entirety, the list would go on for pages and pages. Numerous rare books, diaries, surgeons’ manuals and government documents aided my research, including, for example, Hermann Haupt’s excellent memoirs and the surgery manual mentioned in My Name Is Mary Sutter. To compose this suggested reading list, I sampled my bookshelf. Some of these are reference books, some memoir, some great narratives of history. The books are readily available, with the exception of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, which, however, is obtainable either through inter-library loan or in many libraries’ rare books collections. And finally, I would consider myself remiss if I did not include one very special work of fiction that influenced me tremendously as a writer, which I have listed first.
2) The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, all six volumes (Now available as The Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War, but I used the original volumes to do my research)
4) Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (The History of New York City) by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace
5) An Albany Girlhood by Huybertie Pruyn Hamlin
6) Our Army Nurses by Mary Gardner Holland
7) Revelle in Washington, 1860-1865 by Margaret Leech
10) Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War by George Worthington Adams
(Photo of Robin Oliveira © Fred Milkie, Jr.)
From Publishers Weekly
The Civil War offers a 20-year-old midwife who dreams of becoming a doctor the medical experience she craves, plus hard work and heartbreak, in this rich debut that takes readers from a small upstate New York doctor's office to a Union hospital overflowing with the wounded and dying. Though she's too young for the nursing corps, Mary Sutter goes to Washington, anyway, and, after a chance meeting with a presidential secretary, is led to the Union Hotel Hospital, where she assists chief surgeon William Stipp and becomes so integral to Stipp's work she ignores her mother's pleas to return home to deliver her sister's baby. From a variety of perspectives—Mary, Stipp, their families, and social, political, and military leaders—the novel offers readers a picture of a time of medical hardship, crisis, and opportunity. Oliveira depicts the amputation of a leg, the delivery of a baby, and soldierly life; these are among the fine details that set this novel above the gauzier variety of Civil War fiction. The focus on often horrific medicine and the women who practiced it against all odds makes for compelling reading. (May)
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The author is a master at writing, I never got bored or confused. I was glued to book in one particular scene when a young man's leg had to be amputated. The Mary Sutter character was so determined to learn, learn, learn. She had already mastered being a midwife and dreamed of being a surgeon.
I am so thrilled with this book that I am already searching out more books about women in the Civil War. I would not change a word in this book. I am definitely a fan of Robin Oliviera now.
This is based on several true accounts of woman who did just that during the Civil War. This book is wonderfully written and compelling. I doubt I will ever forget this authentic account.
This was a brutal story of war and deprivation, and of many lost lives. I feel as if I gained further insight into The Civil War and all the key players.