memoir-of-a-hawaii-cowboy-doctor-1T. David Woo’s highly textured memoir of his life as a Hawai‘i Island plantation doctor provides a fascinating look at the days when sugar cane was king.

Plantation Doctor: A Memoir of Hawai‘i is filled with anecdotes, rare photos and detailed maps of ethnic camps during Hawai‘i’s booming plantation era.

Woo was born on the Big Island just after the turn of the century. He left home at age 14 to attend school in China. After earning his medical degree in 1935, he returned to his island home to become a self-professed “cowboy doctor” at Parker Ranch; physician for the Hakalau, Pepe‘ekeo, Honomū and Onomea plantations; and co-founder of the Hilo Medical Group, providing medical care for thousands of ranch hands, plantation workers and other Big Island residents.

His interests also extended to horticulture, a field in which he hybridized award-winning orchids. He was also a horse-breeder, playing a key role in continuing kanaka mustang (Hawaiian horse) bloodlines.

The posthumously published memoir was compiled by Woo’s three children, who shared, “As we age, we have come to more full… appreciate his optimism and positivity in serving his fellow man, community and family.”


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