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Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Contemporary Classics) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY; 2nd edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558616616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558616615
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This dandy little booklet quickly and concisely explains why it is that 93% of the doctors in this country are men even though women make up 70% of all healthcare workers. If you assumed that men are the doctors because they were the pioneers of the healing arts, then this booklet will open your eyes. Barbara Ehrenrich and Deirdre English show how, for reasons of class politics, women's suppression and naked greed, wealthy men discredited, persecuted and outright killed the wisewomen healers, leaving themselves to be the sole practitioners of their "scientific" medicine. The information presented here gives a whole new perspective to medical history and points to some of the causes underlying our current healthcare mess. -- From The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women; review by FGP --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Barbara Ehrenreich is author of the 2002 New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. She has written nearly twenty books, and has been a columnist for Time magazine and the New York Times. She has contributed to The Progressive, Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, and Salon.com. Deirdre English is the former editor of Mother Jones magazine. She has written for the Nation, New York Times Book Review, San Francisco Magazine, S.F. Chronicle Sunday Magazine, Vogue, and public radio and television. Currently, English is a professor at University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

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Customer Reviews

I do highly recommend you read this if you are interested in any way in medicine.
GKR
Unfortunately, Ehrenreich and English's research was selective, incomplete and ultimately false.
Tim O'Neill
I really enjoyed this book was able to read it in one night, as it was only about 100 pages.
NurseDeb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses hardly qualifies as a `book;' it's more like a large booklet. But in its brevity, it manages to explain part of the answer to how our current health care disaster has come to pass. Written in 1973, this book was perfectly timed to coincide with the era of feminism, drastic changes in women's health, and the rise of midwifery as a once-again quasi-respected profession in the US. I am a nurse and a midwife, and I recently attended a book signing for Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed. When I set my dog-eared copy of WMN in front of her, she folded her hands in her lap and sat still. Then she placed her hand flat on the book, looked up at me with glistening eyes, and said, "Oh. Oh, my dear. This is - and probably always will be - my favorite of all the things I've written."
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses is a scholarly history of how male doctors came to take over power and control of the healing arts, traditionally the domain of women. In their concerted efforts to become the sole practitioners of `scientific medicine,' the male `barber-surgeons' discredited, persecuted, and often killed the wisewomen healers. Spanning the time from the medieval years to the Sixties, it throws the entire course of medical history into a new light.
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses is a MUST READ for anyone remotely involved in health care - and that includes everyone, because we are all consumers, if not practitioners. My 80yo father ate it up one afternoon, and that's saying a lot.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By hettyw@mail.galaxy-7.net on November 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
This document is a small seminal "must-read" for feminist-scholars, midwives, nurses, and witches. This small book presents a powerful history of the tragic loss of traditional feminist knowledge relating to birth by patriarchal religious powers during Europe's dark ages. The book came out of the authors' doctoral research. The historical nature of this book, negates any concern relating to the publication date. I strongly recommend it to eco-feminists, nurses, wicans, midwives, and birth-historians.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
The small size of this pamphlet belies its content. Far from being unsubstantiated and poorly researched, it has an annotated bibliography of 16 sources, spanning from the medieval "Malleus Malificarum" to "American Medicine and the Public Interest" (from Yale University Press). This little book is a consice and scholarly work of history, drwing connections between established events that throws the entire course of medical history into a striking new light. A MUST read for anyone even marginally involved in the health field; even more so for Doctors or health practitioners who wish to know more clearly the roots of their field.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By smartnurse123 on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a short book on a history of women healers. It was recommended reading in a graduate nursing course on nursing knowledge development. It gave an overview of women healers including witches and midwives up until present-day nursing. The book is written from a feminist perspective, which adds new insights. I recommend that all nurses read this book to challenge themselves. Although written in the 1970's, it is worthwhile to read another's passionate point of view.
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Format: Paperback
The history of the medical profession before 1900 is not a pleasant one. It was generally an all-male group that resisted all change, even that which was obviously of benefit. One specific example was the generally female profession of midwifery, where the women that assisted birth had a much better record of keeping mother and child alive than the doctors. Yet, the medical profession did nearly all it could to legally declare the midwives as medically incompetent.
I completely agree with Isaac Asimov when he pushed the position that many years ago elderly women were very rare due to the generally low life expectancy and the dangers of childbirth. He also noted that such women had a lifetime of experience in dealing with illnesses and they had as a group amassed a great deal of knowledge about natural remedies that actually worked. His thesis was that the rarity of such people made it easy for the response of the males in power to proclaim such women as witches and to persecute them in the harshest possible ways.
This book is a brief history of the caring medical profession as expressed in the actions of women and the generally hostile response of males in positions of authority. Unfortunately, the story is one of failures on many levels as the medical profession continued to expound "cures" that did more to improve the strength of the disease than to cure it.
While the authors occasionally move into the area of using feminist jargon when simple statements would do, overall this is a book that is historically accurate. It took centuries for women to be allowed into the medical profession as full practitioners and some of the more egregious examples of resistance are chronicled here.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Isabel on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
For any one interested in women's history and in the real idea of "total history" from the Annales school, this book is a must. Of course is not perfect, what it is? However it is time to recover our past, and for that we have to depart from a different perspective, even if it is threatening and contested by some.
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