Latta has gathered together brief biographies of 21 “bold women of medicine.”
Among the subjects are the expected, such as white medical pioneers Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Clara Barton. But there are many who are less well-known, including America’s first two African-American female physicians, Rebecca Lee Crumpler and Rebecca Cole (covered jointly in one chapter), and a determined white Australian physician, Catherine Hamlin, who spent years treating women in Ethiopia who were crippled by obstetrical injuries. White nurse Mary Carson Breckinridge brought modern obstetrical service and nursing care to rural Kentucky and founded the Frontier Nursing Service. The chapter covering black Somaliland nurse midwife Edna Adan Ismail describes her efforts to combat female genital mutilation. Each chapter concludes with a few sources to provide more information. Sidebars provide additional detail on a variety of related topics. A foreword by a recently minted osteopathic physician contributes little. The uninspired narrative style features a tedious, mostly subject/predicate sentence structure that seems intended for a much younger audience than teens. It stands in sharp contrast to the inspirational subject matter. Many of the women defied the cultural expectations of their time to perform valuable work. Photographs of most are included. Endnotes are meticulous, but the index was not available for review. An extensive bibliography rounds out this uneven effort.
Likely to appeal mostly to readers who have a strong interest in the medical field. (Collective biography. 12-18)