The Life of a Russian Woman Doctor by Anna Bek (1869--1954) yields rich insights into the lives of a generation of Russian women who lived at a time of revolutionary change, extraordinary challenges, and unprecedented opportunities. Written in a lively and compelling style, Anna Bek's memoir reveals not only the experiences but also the motives and values of women who sought education, independence, and self-sufficiency, the obstacles they encountered, and the influences of other women and men on their lives. This engrossing memoir also engages the special context of Siberian geography and history -- the vast distances and isolation, the heterogeneous population of settlers, exiles, and convicts, the closeness and interdependence of families and communities, and the deep appreciation of nature. This book offers a rewarding excursion into Siberian social history and an intimate acquaintance with two exceptional individuals of great charm and courage -- Anna Bek and her American editor, Anne D. Rassweiler.
The memoir's style is clear and the story is compelling. Furthermore, Rassweiler's introductions and annotations make the memoir usable for courses in Russian history, gender history, medical history, and general European history.July 2008--Michelle DenBeste "California State University Fresno "