Joycelyn Elders, M.D.: From Sharecropper's Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States...
M. Joycelyn Elders, Joycelyn Elders. William Morrow & Company, $25.95 (355pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14722-8
Elders (b. 1933), a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas, began life in the rural town of Schaal, Ark., as the oldest of eight children born to a poor sharecropper father and a mother who taught her to read by the time she was five. In candid, gripping prose, Elders describes the segregated world of her youth, then details her career through her appointment as surgeon general. Awarded a scholarship to Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Elders became a physical therapist and joined the army to study medicine. Her work attracted the attention of Governor Bill Clinton, who appointed her director of the Arkansas Health Department and, later, surgeon general of the U.S. Her outspoken advocacy of sex education for teenagers caused controversy, and she was forced to resign. Elders does not blame the president for her resignation, and believes that Clinton's political enemies may have initiated the arrest of her son for selling drugs. Writer Chanoff has collaborated on nine other autobiographies. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996