Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Contemporary Classics)
As we watch another agonizing attempt to shift the future of health care in the United States, we are reminded of the longevity of this crisis, and how firmly entrenched we are in a system that doesn't work.
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, first published by The Feminist Press in 1973, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic r...more
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Nevertheless, I was able to overlook what I thought were glaring omissions. For exampl ...more
In the dark ages, we called them witches, inferior to the rational knowledge of physicians and sought out feverishly, for even when their treatments ...more
I would be very interested in learning more of the history of women healers, as the subtitle of this book says it is, but this felt much m ...more
There was a blatant "feminist theorizing" flavor to the book. As a fe ...more
Objective language is thrown out the window and history is given a value-judgment without much struggle in arriving at that value-judgment. The historian, whether feminist or not, will cringe at some of the value-laden words used in this small pamphlet. ...more
The movement towards modern medicine beginning in the 1800s was class, gender, and--to a lesser--extent political suppression. The movement from expertise to professionalism was a siege of power by upper class white males that displaced and ostr ...more
I bought this because it promised an up to date conclusion. There is no such thing, so I thought I'd add just a couple of facts. Nursing has become a very scientific profession in its own right. The ratio of women to men in medical schools, today, forty years a ...more
I met B. Ehrenreich at a book signing for Nickle and Dimed, and I brought my old battered copy of Witches, Midwives and Nurses for her to sign.
I placed it in front of her, and she folded her hands in her lap and stared down at it.
When she raised her face, there were tears in her eyes, and she said, "This is still the book I'm most proud to have written.
My father read it in one setting (it's short and quick), an ...more
From my limited readings (not just this pamphlet), my understanding is that during the 13th-15th century in Europe there were regular peasant rebellions against a decaying feudal order. To undercut these movements, aristocrats and the Church created the bogeyman of witches (m ...more
Unfortunately, it fails to recognize that historically, witches, midwives, and wise women engaged in activities that far exceeded the healing that the authors ascribe to them. Healing can be accomplished by sorcery and energy manipulation should one wish to go that route, and the Church realized the spiritual danger in such a decision by Christians. Hammering the evildoers was a terrible choice f ...more
I have to say, as a (female) practical nurse and a feminist, I'm slightly embarrassed I've never come across or thought of this perspective. In nursing school we were taught that Florence nightingale should be considered a hero.