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Synopsis

In Burt Russell Shurly; A Man of Conviction, A Life in Medicine and Education, 1871–1950, Robert Vanderzee continues the story of the Shurly family, focusing on a physician and educator who, with the help of his mentor, chose medicine over the military life his father had planned for him.

Vanderzee, the oldest grandson of Burt Shurly, relies on his extensive research into family archives, records, and scrapbooks to share memories of a man who married into the wealthy Palms family of Detroit, excelled in his career, and personally saved his alma mater from bankruptcy. Vanderzee chronicles Shurly’s life and career, which included serving as a medical officer during the Spanish- American War, commanding a medical unit in France during World War I, and later leading the fight against diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis while establishing the controversial Shurly Hospital.

Interweaving local history, family letters, newspaper articles, and personal anecdotes, Vanderzee provides an intriguing glimpse into the life of a remarkable man who was gifted with intellect, enormous personal energy, and a keen sense of humor—and used those attributes to earn success for himself, his family, and his community during an fascinating period in Detroit history.

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