The Bookplate is continuing their author event series in partnership with Chef Steve Quigg and The Kitchen for the fall season. On Wednesday, November 8th at 6pm, all are invited to The Kitchen and Pub at The Imperial Hotel to welcome author Linda Fritz as she discusses her book, Answering Alaska’s Call: An Intimate Portrait of Alaska’s Legendary Surgeon, Bush Pilot, and Legislator, Milo “Doc” Fritz.
Milo Fritz always dreamed big, ever eager to push the boundaries of what was considered possible. In 1940, the young Columbia- and Duke-educated eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist and his wife Betsy, an RN, leave the familiar comforts of Milo’s hometown of Pelham, New York to begin a new life in Ketchikan, Alaska. There, Dr. Fritz hopes to realize his “mad dream of a Medical Air Service” to bring modern medical care to neglected bush communities where Alaska Natives are being ravaged by tuberculosis and terrible afflictions of the eyes and ears.
Answering Alaska’s Call chronicles the extraordinary life of Milo ‘Doc’ Fritz-pioneering physician, bush pilot, and state legislator. Epic in sweep and intimate in tone, Milo’s story is intertwined with 20th-century medical and Alaska history-his life impacted by World War II, advances in aviation, the territory’s transition to statehood, the Good Friday Earthquake, the discovery of oil, and passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Milo’s first-hand accounts of his rigorous medical training and his subsequent contributions to the EENT field, as well as his unique path through an era marked by transforming events are enlivened by the wit and perspective of a brilliant mind. Multi-talented and resourceful, Doc Fritz could repair the delicate membrane of an eardrum, play the piano, boil surgical instruments over an open fire, change the spark plugs of a Super Cub, or suture a cornea with equal ease. Inspired by his own heroes, Milo pursued a heroic life, fueled by his passions: medicine, Alaska, flying, and Betsy.
Drawing on a wealth of archival material, family recollections, and her own experiences and research, editor/writer Linda Fritz-Milo’s and Betsy’s niece-offers a compelling portrayal of a heroic life, an enduring marriage, and Alaska-renown for encouraging and thwarting dreams.
“As a professional journalist, essayist, and editor, [Linda Fritz] was uniquely qualified and unafraid to take on a
monumental research and writing project … a very readable, informative, and entertaining narrative. … The result is a memoir as well as a biography and a medical and general history of Alaska, as well as the story of a singular life.” —Nancy Lord, former Alaska writer laureate, published by the Anchorage Daily News
“This is a charming book that satisfies on many levels as portrait of a man, place, and time. Furthermore, it will delight people interested in your part of the story—the huge task of taking on a history project like this. Even for someone who knew nothing about Milo or Alaska, it is a wonderful, candid, moving look at the span of a rich life, including the inevitable, poignant denouement at the end. I felt like I learned something not only about Milo Fritz, but about history and humanity. That’s what a good memoir should do for us.” —Andromeda Romano Lax, Co-founder of 49 Writers, author of Annie and the Wolves
Editor, writer, and award-winning essayist Linda Fritz, author of Answering Alaska’s Call, was introduced to Alaska and the joys of
adventurous travel at age sixteen. Originally from suburban Philadelphia, Linda jumped at the chance to spend the summer in Alaska when offered employment as a nurse’s aide for her uncle—Doc Fritz, Alaska’s legendary flying Doctor. Linda’s dual interest in travel and magazine journalism led to an eclectic career path as a market researcher, writer/editor for Sunset and Diversion magazines, management consultant, and freelance writer that took her around the U.S. After a hiatus to raise a family on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Linda was editor of the literary journal Delmarva Review for several years before taking on the writing challenge that had been gestating for decades: a book about the heroic life of Doc Fritz.
For more event details contact The Bookplate at 410-778-4167 or [email protected]. This event is free and open to the public and reservations are not required. The next author event is a poetry reading scheduled for 11/15 with multiple local poets and featuring Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri, to take place at the Kent Cultural Alliance’s Raimond Center located at 101 Spring Street. The Kitchen at the Imperial Hotel is located at 208 High Street in Chestertown, Maryland.