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The American Way Of Birth

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Three decades ago, Jessica Mitford became a household name with the publication of her long-running bestseller The American Way of Death. Now, in the climactic work of her career, she has found a subject at the other end of the spectrum of human experience. In an era of worry and outrage over health care, this challenging book takes a long look at how Americans are born.
Published November 1st 1992 by Dutton Books
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Petra X
Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death experienced great success so it's no surprise she tried a follow-up with this book. But, as with a lot of follow-ups it's neither so interesting nor so successful.

Giving birth is not mysterious, nor for most women is it complicated and outside of a gaggle of new mothers all anxious to tell their own birth stories, it really isn't that interesting either. But death, ah, now that is forever interesting because it is so mysterious. If you aren't religiou
Mitford's whole premise of questioning the "American way of birth" is one I'm very sympathetic to. Also, I think much of the evidence she presents is strong--and that it can speak for itself without her self-righteous, snarking tone. Didn't her editor tell her that those little tidbits you write when you're irritated and that make you feel particularly satisfied with yourself are precisely the ones you need to cut out? I agree with her most of the time, and still her tone grates so much that I a ...more
Interesting. VERY comprehensive, and I really liked her treatment of internal fetal monitors, forceps and the rise and fall of twilight sleep. She shed light on the societal views and the rise of intervention related to women's enthusiam for them-- a correlation I had never thought of or heard presented, but it makes complete sense! Of course, don't we get in our own way sometimes!?

A must read for any pregnant woman, at least DEFINITELY the sections on the interventions I have mentioned above. I
I found my old reading records from the time I was studying midwifery.

Interesting read (and funny sense of humor) in history of birth and midwives in US.
Gotta love a little muckraking every once in awhile. What strikes me, reading this now, is how timely it is. Mitford takes a long hard look at our capitalistic medical system and where the money is going. She also shows the disparity of treatment between the classes of the patients. Reading this while the health care bill was being debated and voted on was interesting. Seems we're still dealing with the same issues Mitford was frustrated by in the early 1990s.
ummm, i am pregnant right now, so I have to recommend this one. if you or someone you care about ever gets pregnant you NEED to read this, just so you can be prepared for the lingering attitudes to birth that still exist in the American medical community. Also just a fascinating study of how fucked up this country has been in the past.
I picked up this book after having a copy of "The American Way of Death" for many years, and I was not disappointed. Jessica Mitford brought her deft research skills, keen insight, and sharp perspective used in the older book to the topic of birth in the United States.

I'd love to get newer versions of both books.
Mitford looks at the history of obstetrics and midwifery in a witty and readable way. She also exposes the flaws in the modern birthing industry. The first half of the book is great. I got bogged down in the statistics in the second half.
I was conflicted about the book. I used midwives and loved them, but I'm not a fan of home births and lack on medical assistance for births. The book certainly didn't pack the wallop of American Way of Death.
After reading so much about the Mitford girls, I finally got around to reading one of Decca's books, and it was pretty much what I'd expect from an ardent Communist. Very anti-doctor/pro-midwife.
Jul 07, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone living in America and thinking about having a baby
Mainstream birth processes in America are pretty messed up. If you insist on having kids, read this book and strive for a home birth, or at the very least hire a doula.
Of course Jessica Mitford is the best. i love her humorous approach. Not recommended for anyone about to give birth. Too many medieval horror stories.
This is an amazing story of how people are profiting off a natural process - and how the care of women and babies sometimes suffers for it.
Disturbing info and enraging facts. But helpful to know. Would recommend to anyone thinking of giving birth
Insightful view of how labor and delivery has changed in the U.S. over the last 100 years.
May 24, 2011 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tami
Recommended to Kelly by: Cathryn
Very interesting! A little outdated (1993), but it has a lot of history that is just fascinating.
An old classic. I was actually laughing out loud at how sassy Jessica Mitford is.
T. Strange
Very good. Not as good as The American WAy of Death but still entertaining.
an historical of childbirth in America.
Both entertaining and enlightening.
not what I expected at all.
Michael marked it as to-read
May 10, 2015
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Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford was an English author, journalist and political campaigner, who was one of the Mitford sisters. She gained American citizenship in later life.
More about Jessica Mitford...
Hons and Rebels  The American Way of Death Revisited Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford The American Way of Death A Fine Old Conflict

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