A Book Title That Caught My Attention: Little Women of Baghlan by Susan Fox

cover-for-websiteWhile surfing the net, I came across the book Little Women of Baghlan by Susan Fox. As I read more about the book, I am not sure which story sounds more interesting….the one about three American nurses working with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1969 or author Susan Cox’s own story.  Both stories are a testament to the strength, courage, and tenacity of nurses. This book speaks to me because it is about women and nurses working in challenging situations…and writing their stories to enlighten us all. I have been fortunate over time to be involved with organizations that provide care to women and children in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. While my trips have been much safer and for only for 2 weeks at a time, the reality of working in a difficult situation with motivated nurses (some trained formally, some not) and with limited access to education, equipment, and supplies resonates with me.

Little Women of Baghlan is the true account of three nurses in the Peace Corps assigned to Afghanistan in 1968. Reviews of Little Women of Baghlan suggest that readers will learn as much about 1968 Afghanistan as they will about 1968 America.

Some comments from the publisher:

Little Women of Baghlan is the true account of an ordinary young woman who answers the call to service and adventure. Her story rivals the excitement, intrigue, and suspense of any novel, unfolding against the backdrop of changing social mores, the Cold War, the Peace Corps, and a country at the crossroads of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran. When John F. Kennedy, delivers a speech in the Senate Chambers on a hot July day in 1957, a young girl named Joanne Carter listens and is inspired to join the Peace Corps.

Jo flies into Afghanistan on March 21, 1968. With co-workers Nan and Mary, Jo starts a school of nursing for Afghan girls. The students are almost non-literate. The hospital lacks equipment, trained doctors, and a reliable source of water. Babies routinely expire from poor delivery practices. Jo reflects on the paradox that is Afghanistan. The Afghans are mired in poverty, yet generous to the point of embarrassment. The men are welcoming and solicitous of the Volunteers, yet capable of turning a blind eye to the suffering of their wives, daughters, and sisters. The climate is harsh and unforgiving; the Hindu Kush starkly beautiful.

During her two-year deployment, Jo fills the pages of a small, compact diary, never dreaming her observations will eventually become a significant historical account. Nearly a half century later, her journal is a bittersweet reminder of a country that has since vanished—a country now on the brink of becoming a modern nation, moving toward the recognition of women’s rights.”

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Susan Fox

Author Susan Fox has also lived a pioneering life as a nurse and writer. She lives in the greater Chicago area and has worked as a technical writer for a major consulting firm. She is a member of the Literary Writers Network and is serving as senior editorial assistant for their online publication, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a nursing degree, and a certificate in technical writing from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. She has been a keynote speaker at The Indiana Center for Middle East Peace and regularly travels throughout the US to talk to audiences about her book. On top of all that, she works as a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, IL.

As Susan Fox exemplifies, there are many writing arenas where nurses can make a difference. Educated formally and often practicing in environments that demand intelligence, practicality, flexibility, and creativity, nurses are uniquely positioned to write in many genres. INANE 2015 will feature a nurse who has turned her writing talents to fiction….we’ll look forward to hearing her story.

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