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A Mighty Force: Dr. Elizabeth Hayes and Her War for Public Health

In the last half of 1945, news of the war's end and aftermath shared space with reports of a battle on the home front, led by a woman. She was Elizabeth O. Hayes, MD, doctor for a coal company that owned the town of Force, PA, where sewage contaminated the drinking water, and ambulances sank into muddy unpaved roads while corrupt managers, ensconced in Manhattan high-rises, refused to make improvements.

When Hayes resigned to protest intolerable living conditions, 350 miners struck in support of her, shaking the foundation of the town and igniting a national media storm. Press — including women reporters, temporarily assigned to national news desks in wartime — flocked to the small mining town to champion Dr. Hayes' cause. Slim, blonde, and 33, "Dr. Betty" became the heroine of an environmental drama that captured the nation's attention, complete with mustache-twirling villains, surprises, setbacks, and a mostly happy ending. News outlets ranging from Business Week to the Daily Worker applauded her guts; a Philadelphia newspaper recommended Dr. Betty's prescription to others: "Rx: Get Good and Angry." President Harry S. Truman referred her grievances to his justice department, which handed her a victory.

A Mighty Force is the only book, popular or academic, written about Hayes. Author Marcia Biederman uses pieces written by major news outlets and tiny local papers, as well as interviews with descendants, letters written by Hayes's opponents, union files, court records, an observer's scrapbook, mining company data, and a journalist's oral history to tell the story of Dr. Betty and her pursuit of public health for the first time.

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Product Details

Recommended Age Adults
Author Marcia Biederman
ISBN 1633887081
Publication Date Oct 15, 2021
Publisher Prometheus
Language English