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A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 Paperback – June 4, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
The diary of a midwife and herbalist reveals the prevalence of violence, crime and premarital sex in rural 18th-century New England. "Fleshing out this midwife's bare entries with interpretive essays . . . Ulrich marvelously illuminates women's status, the history of medicine and daily life in the early Republic," said PW . Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This book is a model of social history at its best. An exegesis of Ballard's diary, it recounts the life and times of this obscure Maine housewife and midwife. Using passages from the diary as a starting point for each chapter division, Ulrich, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, demonstrates how the seemingly trivial details of Ballard's daily life reflect and relate to prominent themes in the history of the early republic: the role of women in the economic life of the community, the nature of marriage and sexual relations, the scope of medical knowledge and practice. Speculating on why Ballard kept the diary as well as why her family saved it, Ulrich highlights the document's usefulness for historians.
- Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
for those that embrace the medical field and belief in their infallibility .. your'e going to be shocked at just how little men didn't know about birth.. but how it was a matter of popular opinion to get a "doctor" to attend your birth..
good read.. not only for seeing the eroding of women's empowerment.. but also a glimpse of how intertwined the colonists were and a good look at culture and the changing attitudes .. of our society .. about birth, money making, and labor and delivery.
It will open your eyes to the everyday hardships of Augusta Maine in the late 1700. It was a wonder that not only did people survive, but that this midwife had the same infant survival rate that we have now. I highly recommend this book. The only comment is that around the fourth chapter, the author explains the economics of the time. It reads like someone's thesis. Please stick it out or skip to the next chapter, it will be worth your while.