Review by Choice Review
Harris (Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs) presents a comprehensive biography of Dr. Mary Walker, activist, author, and surgeon. As Harris explains, Walker graduated from Syracuse Medical College in 1855 and served as a Union surgeon during the Civil War. After the war, Walker became consumed with dress reform. She took up the reform dress of the mid 19th century, the Bloomer costume, until 1870, when she began to dress in men's clothing. Using extensive archival research, Harris presents a careful narrative biography of Walker in 14 chronological chapters. Previous biographical works about Walker have focused on a singular aspect of her life. These include, among others, Charles Snyder's Dr. Mary Walker: The Little Lady in Pants (1962), which discusses Walker as a dress reform activist during the early 20th century, and Carla Joinson's Civil War Doctor (2006), which depicts Walker as a military surgeon during the Civil War. The work is comprehensive--Harris portrays Walker as a Civil War surgeon, women's rights activist, legal and dress reformer, and Medal of Honor recipient--and interdisciplinary scholarship makes the volume relevant to many academic fields. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty. M. L. Charleroy University of Minnesota
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