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Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity
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Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  170 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Drawing vibrant connections between the colonization of whole nations, the health of the mountainsides and the abuse of individual women, children and men, Medicine Stories offers the paradigm of integrity as a political model to people who hunger for a world of justice, health and love.
Paperback, 135 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by South End Press (first published October 1st 1998)
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Aurora Morales
Mar 31, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
South End Press sent out a call for manuscripts to selected writers in late 1997 or early 1998. I was in the middle of finishing my book Remedios, and consulted my other and collaborator about whether to take it on. She said to do it, but not worry, to write a B+ book not strive for A+. As a result, I wrote it easily, without anxiety, and have been astonished at how widely it is read, quoted and used by young activists exploring the politics of trauma and healing, the meaning and uses of histori ...more
William  Lawrence
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"But abuse is the local eruption of systemic oppression, and oppression the accumulation of millions of small systematic abuses." ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Medicine Stories serves up a hefty dose of soul-stirring wisdom that empowers us to dream up new futures. Morales' ability to capture such a well-rounded scope of interconnected histories and ideas had me head-nodding and poetry-snapping until the very last page.

(Note: Originally published in the late '90s, so expect some dated language here.)
Aurora Levins Morales, a long time feminist and anti-racism activist has put together a series of essays that are poignantly written and speak of both the personal and political experiences of oppression in an integrated way. Born to a Puerto Rican mother and a Russian Ashkenazi Jewish father, Morales explores and extends her multiple identities as Latina, Jew, a woman of privilege, a woman of color, feminist and abuse survivor. In her first essay she draws a connection between abuse and oppress ...more
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Aurora Levins Morales writes with such intimacy that the reader feels her strength, her resilience, her story that I finished the book inspired to write. She reminds us that the practice of our cultures is revolutionary and a needed tool to resist the "other" placed upon each of us. A short book, but take your time to take in each essay. You will not regret it. ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lara by: Nicole Perez
This book changed the way I looked at healing, complex intersectionality, and trauma. I've read it so many times...and never have it too far from my fingertips. x ...more
Inspiring reflections on cultural influence. Well articulated.
“Earth-centered cultures everywhere held our kinship with land and animals and plants as core knowledge, central to living. The land had to be soaked with blood and that knowledge, those cultures shattered, before private ownership could be erected. It wasn’t just theft.”
“…it is no longer useful to…keep defining and elaborating our understandings of the exact nature of racism, sexism, class and sexual orientation as if they ever opera
Miko Lee
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
A series of thoughtful and well researched essays around healing and transformative justice. Love the topic areas focused on areas from curanderas to class, privilege and radical pleasure. From the eyes of a progressive brilliant biracial middle class Puerto Rican Jewish American.
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
For a book written over 20 years ago, the topics and the author's views are still terribly relevant to the world today. White people have chosen not to learn much, sadly. ...more
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grapples with big issues in a way that is hopeful and empowering.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the best essays about organizing, trauma, strategy, justice and identity that I’ve ever read. Anyone who does social change work needs to definitely pick this up!
Mar 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book on why history is so essential. The Historian as Curandera is an amazing essay. Morales urges us to view history as a way to build hope for marginalized folk, making for better movement building. She also argues that we embrace the complexity of our own personal histories as well as those of our peoples.
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I want to memorize and live Every. Single. Word.
Sascha Altman-DuBrul
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
this is my current guidebook to life
I didn't get too far into this before I had to return it but what I read was fantastic. Will definitely pick it up again soon. ...more
Omg. So amazing. Everyone should read this book!
Victoria Law
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Almost a year later, the copy I reserved at the library finally came in (along with Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck, which I reserved a day or so ago). ...more
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113 likes · 81 comments
“The only way to bear the overwhelming pain of oppression is by telling, in all its detail, in the presence of witnesses and in a context of resistance, how unbearable it is. If we attempt to craft resistance without understanding this task, we are collectively vulnerable to all the errors of judgement that unresolved trauma generates in individuals. It is part of our task as revolutionary people, people who want deep-rooted, radical change, to be as whole as it is possible for us to be. This can only be done if we face the reality of what oppression really means in our lives, not as abstract systems subject to analysis, but as an avalanche of traumas leaving a wake of devastation in the lives of real people who nevertheless remain human, unquenchable, complex and full of possibility.” 15 likes
“I wonder what it must have been like, what dignity it must have conferred on children of the Iroquois confederacy that any child over three was welcome to speak about matters of group importance in the tribal council.” 8 likes
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