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.”


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.

A Nurse Gains Fame in the Days of Polio

(If you have an extra gift card from Christmas, you might want to spend it on this book. LHN)

from the New York Times.
DECEMBER 26, 2013, 12:01 AM

A Nurse Gains Fame in the Days of Polio


17well_petrowbook-articleInlineIn the years after World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt routinely won polls as America’s most admired woman. But in a 1952 Gallup poll, she was beaten by an Australian nurse, Elizabeth Kenny, popularly known as Sister Kenny.

Today, Elizabeth Kenny is largely forgotten. But thanks to a new biography by the Yale University historian of medicine Naomi Rogers, “Polio Wars: Sister Kenny and the Golden Age of American Medicine,” readers can learn why she gained such fame. And while Ms. Kenny’s work was mostly in polio, which has now nearly been eradicated, her emphasis on the care of individual patients and close bedside observation could not be more relevant in an era dominated by randomized controlled trials.

Ms. Kenny was an unlikely celebrity. Born in Australia in 1880, she became a “bush nurse,” serving a largely rural population. It was World War I that opened up her vistas; she worked as a British army nurse on troop ships and earned the honorific title “Sister,” the equivalent of a lieutenant, for her service. Contrary to popular belief, Ms. Kenny was not a nun.

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Free Titles from the National Academies Press



The National Academies—National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—are committed to distributing their reports to as wide an audience as possible. Since 1994 we have offered “Read for Free” options for almost all our titles. In addition, we have been offering free downloads of most of our titles to everyone and of all titles to readers in the developing world. We are now going one step further. Effective June 2nd, PDFs of reports that are currently for sale on the National Academies Press (NAP) Website and PDFs associated with future reports* will be offered free of charge to all Web visitors.

For more than 140 years, the NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC have been advising the nation on issues of science, technology, and medicine. Like no other collection of organizations, the Academies enlist the nation’s foremost scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to address the scientific and technical aspects of society’s most pressing problems. The results of their work are authoritative and independent studies published by the National Academies Press.

NAP produces more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health, capturing the best-informed views on important issues. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health which was released earlier this year.

We invite you to visit the NAP homepage and experience the new opportunities available to access our publications. There you can sign up for MyNAP, a new way for us to deliver all of our content for free to loyal subscribers like you and to reward you with exclusive offers and discounts on our printed books. This enhancement to our free downloads means that we can reach out even further to inform government decision making and public policy, increase public education and understanding, and promote the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge.

*There are a small number of reports that never had PDF files and, therefore, those reports are not available for download. In addition, part of the series, “Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Animals” are not be available in PDF and future titles in this series will also not have PDFs associated with them.

E-books and The Library…

Interesting article from the New York Times:

Publisher Limits Shelf Life for Library E-Books


Imagine the perfect library book. Its pages don’t tear. Its spine is unbreakable. It can be checked out from home. And it can never get lost.

The value of this magically convenient library book — otherwise known as an e-book — is the subject of a fresh and furious debate in the publishing world. For years, public libraries building their e-book collections have typically done so with the agreement from publishers that once a library buys an e-book, it can lend it out, one reader at a time, an unlimited number of times.

Last week, that agreement was upended by HarperCollins Publishers when it began enforcing new restrictions on its e-books, requiring that books be checked out only 26 times before they expire. Assuming a two-week checkout period, that is long enough for a book to last at least one year.

What could have been a simple, barely noticed change in policy has galvanized librarians across the country, many of whom called the new rule unfair and vowed to boycott e-books from HarperCollins, the publisher of Doris Lessing, Sarah Palin and Joyce Carol Oates.

“People just felt gobsmacked,” said Anne Silvers Lee, the chief of the materials management division of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which has temporarily stopped buying HarperCollins e-books. “We want e-books in our collections, our customers are telling us they want e-books, so I want to be able to get e-books from all the publishers. I also need to do it in a way that is not going to be exorbitantly expensive.”

to read the whole thing, go here. The comments are also worth perusing.

(originally published on March 14th, 2011).