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Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Contemporary Classics) Paperback – July 1, 2010


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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: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 know who I would rather go to!!!
Randi A Samuelson-Brown
This is a must read and should be a part of everyone's library.
Cheryl Murphy
I think it is an easy, informative read.
GKR

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1973 and now in a second edition, "Witches Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women Healers" is a paperback account of feminist healers' history in Western Civilisation from the Middle Ages through the early 70's. The first publication was written in "An angry blaze" of feminine outrage, but the original "pamphlet" became an underground best-seller in the 70's according to the "Village Voice." Re-issuing the book today invites some re-examination of the same feminist issues that prompted its original publication, and the authors conclude: "We have not been passive bystanders in the history of medicine...Our enemy is not just 'men' or their individual male chauvinism: it is the whole class system that enabled male, upper-class healers to win out and which forced us into subservience. Institutional sexism is sustained by a class system which supports male power: There is no historically consistent justification for the exclusion of women from healing roles...Men maintain their power in the health system through their monopoly of scientific knowledge...Professionalism in medicine is nothing more than the institutionalization of male upper-class monopoly...we must begin to break down the distinctions and barriers between women health workers and women consumers....Our oppression as women health workers today is inextricably linked to our oppression as women (pp. 99-102)." "Witches Midwives & Nurses" includes the original bibliography of the 1973 edition. Published literature in the area was scant at that time. Lest we become complacent, "Witches Midwives and Nurses" reminds us that though we may have come far in the progression of feminist ideas and enlightened health practices and education by and for women, there is yet quite some distance to go.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randi A Samuelson-Brown on May 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am torn between giving this a 4 or a 5 - in a way I would consider this work to be an essay opposed to a "book". What I thought was fascinating:

First - the background of the authors (!). Apparently they brought women's studies to women in the 1960's via these pamphlets and talks given in libraries, etc.(never heard of this movement - I really must applaud them.) That alone shows just how far women have come since the 1960's, and is frightening when truly considered. As recently as that point in time, women's bodies had become a foreign territory to be deciphered by the medical establishment regarding fertility, reproduction and functionality. That is really what this book is about as an overview...

The starting point of this book maps out how the medical profession began with women in the very primary role as natural healers (witches. Over time the natural healers began to get pushed to the side by men (or the establishment)- practitioners who took the more "scientific approach" of blood-letting and leaches. I know who I would rather go to!!! Also, the book/essay touches upon some of the select few women who did attend medical school. Those select women (although ostracized by their male counterparts) quickly joined "the ranks" of a fairly closed-door society of the medical "elite". Midwives (once again a very necessary and useful service) were then seen as a threat and marginalized, is not made illegal. Until the mid to late 1800's Medical practices and standards were up for debate - and the way the book portrays the chronology points to money closing ranks, pulling together to protect the privileged (capitalism) to the exclusion of others - often the poor but bright, midwives, people of color etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jean Spencer on December 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The premise of this book is the coming down through history of the gentle Wise Woman skills that are still used in various ways in Nursing today. It puts that together very well. It's a thought provoker. Good book to expand the thinking and realize how things have evolved And where they still exist in some form today.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on February 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
I found this a game changer decades ago- it changed my life to read about a whole level of human history which had been and still is pretty much snuffed out by the "powers that be". The work of scholar and Ph.D Jean Achterberg, in her book Woman as Healer, correlates with the spirit, tone, and information in this book. There have been a few naysayers on this review site stating that
this book is "not factual" - not one of them provided any evidence of their statement. Read both, and see what you think- it is possible that this book is "outdated" (most people cite the 1973 dates for those contentions- the book was not attempting to encompass the world of the 2000's at that time...) , however as an insight into this particular history, it was a rare door opening at the time it came out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GKR on November 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short story shares many interesting beginnings of modern medicine. I think it is an easy, informative read. I only gave 4 stars because some of the content is outdated. But I should mention it was first written in the early 70's. I do highly recommend you read this if you are interested in any way in medicine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pat Cottrell on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although brief, this booklet is a good overview of the changes in women in the medical field, which is a mirror of women in general life.
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