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Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  17 reviews
For fans of Hidden Figures and Radium Girls comes the remarkable story of three Victorian women who broke down barriers in the medical field to become the first women doctors, revolutionizing the way women receive health care.

In the early 1800s, women were dying in large numbers from treatable diseases because they avoided receiving medical care. Examinations perf
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by Park Row
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Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Excellent look at the struggle of the first women doctors

I loved this book. It is written in a conversational tone and I found the book inspirational. Although there is some medical information in the book, the book is more about the women’s struggles. However, what medicine is discussed is explained very clearly. The book covers the contemporaneous social and political situations that makes for fascinating reading. Indeed, the book reads more like a novel than nonfiction. I recommend this book
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Date reviewed/posted: December 6, 2020
Publication date: March 2, 2021

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from
Olivia Campbell
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: binders-2021
I think I wrote a good book!
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars

This is mainly a biography of three of the first women doctors in the mid- to late-19th century, but also a history of the fight for the right of women to become doctors. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the US to earn an MD, in the mid-1800s. It took a while longer, but Lizzie Garret was the first in England. Sophia Jax-Blake was not immediately next in the UK, but she worked hard fighting for the right of women to be able to earn that designation; she did get her MD later s
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, own
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book via Goodreads giveaway.

This is an excellent read for anyone looking to gain a perspective on what it was like to be a female seeking a medical degree (or any college level education) in the 1800s. It's mind-blowing to read about the misogynistic opinions of most men (and even some women) during this time. Apparently women were too weak both mentally and physically to be allowed to obtain a medical degree. However, the three prominent women discussed in
Jennifer Schultz
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read if you: Want a richly told acccount of the intelligent, brave, and determined women who forced open the door for women in medicine.

Librarians/booksellers: Women's history continues to be quite popular; having a medical history angle adds to the appeal for many readers. A strong purchase.

Many thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Park Row for providing me an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review

Women in White Coats tells of the struggles of the first women in America and the UK to obtain medical degrees and be seen as serious medical professionals. While it seemed to me that the author occasionally went off on unnecessary tangents, this book is very readable for a piece of non-fiction and tells a gripping story while also imparting a lot of information.

Although about the medical
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and engaging. This is the history of three Victorian women and their journey to open the doors to becoming doctors not only for themselves but for women of the future. Many of these women were instrumental in developing the attributes of the modern day medical school in the United States including clinical practice. These driven and intelligent women overcame so many obstacles including a male dominated industry and society norms which barred their access to becoming medical doctors. ...more
Well written for the most part, if a bit dense and not flowing well in places. The stories of these women are detailed with both their personal and professional lives, with the former focused mostly on what led the women to decide to become doctors.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a pretty fascinating account of early women trying to break into the male-dominated world of “professional” medicine. It was often infuriating (as injustice, prejudice, and sexism are), but also intriguing. The mentions and brief descriptions of medical treatment and knowledge during the late 1800s were great reminders of how far we’ve come. And the petulant, immature actions of those trying to keep women out of the field were a great reminder of how far we haven’t come.
I often found my
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Women as trailblazers,
No obstacles could stop them.
History changed by women, we need to learn this history.

Everyone needs to know and appreciate women's contributions to the medical world.
MANY have benefited!
Jan 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Although not particularly interested in the medical field myself, I was quite excited to learn about the first women who worked as doctors. A point of clarification that is never really addressed is that this is not the history of the first female doctors anywhere, but rather some of the first in the US and UK. A quick search turns up the first female MD a century before the subjects of these books, as well as contemporaries in less Anglo countries. The three women focused on the book did lead i ...more
Feb 01, 2021 is currently reading it
Medical Biographies & Autobiographies, Biographies & Autobiographies of Women, Historical Biographies & Autobiographies, Women History
Melody Schreiber
Nov 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
I cannot wait for this book!!!
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This history of some of the first women doctors moved right along and was an intriguing read. At times, I became weary of the fight, and I was just reading about it! And what a fight it was. We have a lot to be thankful for at their persistence and perseverance. I was haunted by the doctor who practiced surgery on his female slaves without benefit of anesthesia.
Cynthia  Scott
Very informative about medicine and the dominance of men in the profession in most of the world in the 19th and early 20th century. Not to be read for pleasure.
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Olivia Campbell is a journalist & author specializing in medicine and women. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Washington Post, The Cut, Smithsonian Magazine, Scientific American, and Literary Hub, among others. She lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband, three sons, and cat.

Articles featuring this book

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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