Mitford Jessica : American Way of Birth (HB)

Mitford Jessica : American Way of Birth (HB)

3.97 (186 ratings by Goodreads)

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Three decades ago, Jessica Mitford became famous when she introduced us to the idiosyncracies of American funeral rites in The American Way of Death. Now in a book as fresh, provocative, and fearless as anything else she has written, she shows us how and in what circumstances Americans give birth.At the start, she knew no more of the subject, and not less, than any mother does. Recalling her experiences in the 1930s and 1940s of giving birth - in London, in Washington, D.C., and in Oakland, California - she observes, "A curious amnesia takes over in which all memory of the discomforts you have endured is wiped out, and your determination never, ever to do that again fast fades."But then, years later in 1989 - when her own children were adults, and birth a subject of no special interest to her - she meet a young woman, a midwife in Northern California who was being harassed by government agents and the medical establishment. Her sympathies, along with her reportorial instincts, were immediately stirred. There was a story there that needed to be explored and revealed. Far more than she anticipated then, she was at the beginning of an investigation that would lead her over the next three years to the writing of this extraordinary book.This is not a book about the miracle of life. It is about the role of money and politics in a lucrative industry; a saga of champagne birthing suites for the rich and desperate measures for the poor. It is a colorful history - from the torture and burning of midwives in medieval times, through the absurd pretensions of the modest Victorian age, to this century's vast succession of anaesthetic, technological, and "natural" birthing fashions. And it is a comprehensive indictment of the politics of birth and national health.Jessica Mitford explores conventional and alternative methods, and the costs of having a child. She gives flesh-and-blood meaning to the cold statistics. Daring to ask hard questions and skeptical of soft answers, her book is necessary reading for anyone contemplating childbirth, and for everyone fascinated by the follies of human activity. It may even bring about some salutary changes in the American way of birth.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 612.35g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • United States
  • English
  • 0525935231
  • 9780525935230

Rating details

186 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 32% (59)
4 39% (73)
3 24% (44)
2 5% (10)
1 0% (0)
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