by Dr. Joycelyn Elders and David Chanoff
The oldest of eight children, Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in the tiny town of Schaal, Arkansas, in 1933. She grew up in a three-room cabin and, at age fifteen, graduated from high school as valedictorian. When she entered Philander Smith College in Little Rock, she had never seen a doctor, let alone dreamed of becoming one. Dr. Elders graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical School and then became its first black resident, its first black chief resident, and finally its first black professor. By the time of the Senate debate on her confirmation as surgeon general in August 1993, Dr. Elders had been a respected pediatric endocrinologist and medical scientist for a quarter of a century, as well as the director of Arkansas's health department under then-governor Clinton. But during Dr. Elders's tenure as surgeon general she came under fire for her controversial positions on such subjects as abortion, sex education, the distribution of condoms, and the legalization of drugs. Her passion and outspokenness enraged Republicans and often upset the Clinton administration. Now, Dr. Elders openly describes the top-level machinations that led the Clinton health insurance reform to self-destruct and eventually resulted in her own dismissal. She writes with equal candor about such intimate personal tragedies as her youngest son's drug addiction and arrest, and about the poisoned political climate in Arkansas, which has affected the lives of so many of the President's friends and appointees.
Hardback: 355 pages