A recent visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, provided a dividend. Not only is the site a world-class museum that is part of the Smithsonian, but it also contains an expansive gift shop offering a treasure trove of impressive books dealing with American history, especially our nation’s military history. It was amid these volumes that I discovered Women Doctors in War by two accomplished historians, Judith Bellafaire, Ph.D., and Mercedes Herrera Graf, Ph.D. This exhaustively researched book traces the personal and professional experiences of women physicians attempting to serve their country from the Civil War until the present. These valiant women encountered unique pressures as they struggled with two male-dominated professional hierarchies: the medical and military establishments. In addition, they had to contend with embedded and constricting societal norms that regarded women’s role as limited and subordinate.

Although women have been practicing the healing...

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