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From The CriticsReviewer: Doris Wisher, MLS, MA, AHIP (Touro University-Nevada)
Description: This is a book about the life and work of a medical doctor, a woman named Marie Zakrzewska, who set about to cleanly separate science from gender in 19th century America. She insisted that anyone steeped in the natural sciences and trained in medicine could be a physician, no matter what gender.
Purpose: The author successfully profiles Dr. Zakrzewska, who devoted her professional life to proving that science/medicine is a "democratizing tool." In other words, since she believed anybody could master science, including medicine, the doors to the practice of medicine should swing wide open to both genders. In 1862, Dr. Zakrzewska practiced what she preached by founding the New England Hospital for Women and Children, all the while battling Victorian Era society's restrictive definition of her gender.
Audience: Students of American history, scholars of history of medicine and women's studies, as well as medical students, health science professionals, medical educators, and anyone of either gender interested in learning how one intelligent woman defied society and paved the way for today's women in medicine will enjoy reading this book.
Features: The author covers her subject in 12 chapters along with an inviting introduction, 45 comprehensive pages of notes, a bibliography, and a fine index. Among the six illustrations, three photographs of Dr. Zakrzewska help put a face on the woman. Nine tables, strategically positioned in the book, accentuate the author's meaty presentation.
Assessment: This book provides more than a passing glance at one of the "way showers" of modern medicine in America. Without mincing words, this work delves deep into society's gender norms and mores and resurfaces clearly demonstrating "science has no sex."