“The evolution of the American physician/businessman is exemplified in A Family Practice: The Russell Doctors and the Evolving Business of Medicine, 1799–1989. While the Russell pedigree is not unique to American medicine—many of today’s physicians often come from a ‘long line of doctors’—tracing the lives and legacies of four generations of Russell physicians makes this an authentic American epic, not unlike the medical equivalent to Alex Haley’s Roots. Even more fascinating are the authors’ voluminous sources, both genealogical and historical, drawn upon in weaving together this saga of sojourning surgeons.”
—Bill J. Gurley, from the Foreword
A Family Practice is the sweeping saga of four generations of doctors, Russell men seeking innovative ways to sustain themselves as medical practitioners in the American South from the early nineteenth to the latter half of the twentieth century. The thread that binds the stories in this saga is one of blood, of medical vocations passed from fathers to sons and nephews. This study of four generations of Russell doctors is an historical study with a biographical thread running through it.
The authors take a wide-ranging look at the meaning of intergenerational vocations and the role of family, the economy, and social issues on the evolution of medical education and practice in the United States.