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Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Studies in Social Medicine) [Hardcover]

Steven M. Stowe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

October 18, 2004 0807828858 978-0807828854 1
Offering a new perspective on medical progress in the nineteenth century, Steven M. Stowe provides an in-depth study of the midcentury culture of everyday medicine in the South. Reading deeply in the personal letters, daybooks, diaries, bedside notes, and published writings of doctors, Stowe illuminates an entire world of sickness and remedy, suffering and hope, and the deep ties between medicine and regional culture.

In a distinct American region where climate, race and slavery, and assumptions about "southernness" profoundly shaped illness and healing in the lives of ordinary people, Stowe argues that southern doctors inhabited a world of skills, medicines, and ideas about sickness that allowed them to play moral, as well as practical, roles in their communities. Looking closely at medical education, bedside encounters, and medicine's larger social aims, he describes a "country orthodoxy" of local, social medical practice that highly valued the "art" of medicine. While not modern in the sense of laboratory science a century later, this country orthodoxy was in its own way modern, Stowe argues, providing a style of caregiving deeply rooted in individual experience, moral values, and a consciousness of place and time.

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Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Studies in Social Medicine) + Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Antebellum Virginia (Blacks in the New World)
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Editorial Reviews


"Takes an unconventional look at a conventional topic. . . . An important contribution to studies of southern community life as well as a deeply thoughtful examination of the praxis of regional medical science."--Journal of Social History

"Exceedingly well-researched and well-written. . . . It should become the prototype of a new genre, inspiring similar studies in other parts of America."--South Carolina Historical Magazine

"Fills a particular niche for the student of both southern history and the history of medicine. . . . A fresh and creative view."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

"A straight-forward, well documented story of the trials and tribulations of nineteenth century physicians and their patients. . . . A bonanza of information. . . . This fascinating, evocative, and thoughtful book is a significant addition to both Southern and medical history."--Historian

"As a richly documented chronicle of medicine in the mid-nineteenth century, this book is successful and claims a high place in both social history and the history of medicine in America."--Journal of Southern History

"This prodigious research is augmented by a well-written narrative that takes readers to southern medical-school classrooms, to doctors' offices, and to the bedsides of the neighbors that they sought to mend and heal. . . . [This] masterful achievement should become a model for . . . medical history."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"A fascinating study--thoroughly researched, well written, and showing a depth of thought and sensitivity. The book is a worthwhile read and will be of interest to a broad spectrum of the historical field, including medical and cultural historians, nineteenth-century historians, and the South generally."--H-SHEAR

"This book . . . is pathbreaking in many respects. . . . Stowe has written a superb book. Thoroughly researched and supported by an excellent bibliography and index, it offers a level of insight into mainstream practice that sets a much higher standard for future scholars."--American Historical Review

"This is an excellent work that deserves to be on the shelves of academic libraries everywhere. . . . [Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-Nineteenth Century] provides a glimpse of doctoring not available elsewhere."--Doody's Review Service

Book Description

"A richly evocative reconstruction of medicine and medical practice. Stowe contrasts a traditional, community-oriented reality with the more conventional narrative of elite-oriented progress. An important contribution to American cultural history."--Charles E. Rosenberg, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Social Medicine
  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (October 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807828858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807828854
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,986,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a little history February 26, 2008
The changes that have taken place in ordinary life - especially in medicine - from the middle of the 20th Century up to the present leave most Americans ignorant of what it was like to live in a time before antibiotice, anesthetics and even a good working knowledge of the human body. This little book brings home to anyone interested in life during the 19th century what it was like for both doctor and patient.

This is a book for specialized interests rather than a broad view of the period but that very fact insures that it provides details and ephemera that would ordinarily not be covered in more generalized works. I am very happy to add it to my library of the period.
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