A New York Times Best Seller
A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
A Facebook "Year of Books" Selection
One of the Best Books of the Year
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Why do we fear vaccines? A provocative examination by Eula Biss, the author of Notes from No Man's Land, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear-fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.
In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected-our bodies and our fates.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.
Lia Lee 1982-2012
Lia Lee died on August 31, 2012. She was thirty years old and had been in a vegetative state since the age of four. Until the day of her death, her family cared for her lovingly at home.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.
Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, "qaug dab peg"--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.
Winner of four major awards, this updated edition of Joan Jacobs Brumberg's Fasting Girls, presents a history of women's food-refusal dating back as far as the sixteenth century. Here is a tableau of female self-denial: medieval martyrs who used starvation to demonstrate religious devotion, "wonders of science" whose families capitalized on their ability to survive on flower petals and air, silent screen stars whose strict "slimming" regimens inspired a generation. Here, too, is a fascinating look at how the cultural ramifications of the Industrial Revolution produced a disorder that continues to render privileged young women helpless. Incisive, compassionate, illuminating, Fasting Girls offers real understanding to victims and their families, clinicians, and all women who are interested in the origins and future of this complex, modern and characteristically female disease.
In 1956, when La Leche League was founded, if a new mother chose to breastfeed rather than bottlefeed her child, she could by no means expect universal support for her decision. Though physicians of the era admitted that breastfeeding was the best method of infant feeding, they warned of the difficulties that nursing mothers faced, and many held that successful breastfeeding required a knowledge of science and medicine that most new mothers could not claim. Started by seven Catholic women who simply wished to help their friends learn to breastfeed, La Leche League grew into an organization with several million members worldwide, known here and abroad for its pathbreaking promotion of the breastfeeding of infants.
Offering a fascinating look inside an organization whose full history has been essentially untold, Jule Ward explores the genesis, theological underpinnings, and development of La Leche League. She demonstrates that, despite distancing itself from any overt expression of its religious roots, the organization remains a quasi-religious articulation of Catholic social thought blended with scientific ideology and feminism. In short, says Ward, the story of La Leche League provides an excellent example of how religion in practice permeates everyday life.
Addresses the issues at the heart of international medicine and social responsibility.During the last half-century many international declarations have proclaimed health care to be a fundamental human right. But high aspirations repeatedly confront harsh realities, in societies both rich and poor. To illustrate this disparity, David and Sheila Rothman bring together stories from their investigations around the world into medical abuses. A central theme runs through their account: how the principles of human rights, including bodily integrity, informed consent, and freedom from coercion, should guide physicians and governments in dealing with patients and health care. Over the past two decades, the Rothmans have visited post-Ceausescu Romania, where they uncovered the primitive medical practices that together with state oppression caused hundreds of orphans to develop AIDS. They have monitored the exploitative international traffic in organs in India, China, Singapore, and the Philippines. One of the most controversial questions they explore is experimentation on human beings, whether in studies of the effects of radioactive iron on pregnant women in 1940s Tennessee or in contemporary trials of AIDS drugs in the third world. And they examine a number of rulings by South Africa's Constitutional Court that have suggested practical ways of reconciling the right to health care with its society's limited resources. Whether discussing the training of young doctors in the US, the effects of segregation on medicine in Zimbabwe, or proposals for rationing health care, David and Sheila Rothman conclude that an ethical and professional concern for observing medicine's oldest commandment--do no harm--must be joined with a profound commitment to protecting human rights.
Our understanding of the human body has changed dramatically since the time of Hippocrates and, later, Galen, who dominated medical thinking for more than a millennium. Yet elements of myth and folklore persist to the present day -- every time someone says "Gesundheit", for example -- alongside the latest medical science. Drawing on a lifetime of surgical experience, Dr. Sherwin Nuland shares some memorable operating room stories that illustrate the distinctive "personalities" of five organs: the stomach, liver, spleen, heart, and uterus. He shows how our present knowledge of these organs has emerged from a rich history of imaginative speculation about how the human body works and what role each of these major organs plays. (Our early ancestors believed that our organs were independent creatures inside our bodies, the "animals within".)
The Mysteries Within brilliantly melds myth and science from the dawn of recorded history to the present day. It will fascinate anyone interested in medicine, history, or folklore. Eloquent and insightful, it is a book about human anatomy and, at the same time, an exploration of the human mind and spirit, especially our somewhat contradictory thirst for knowledge about ourselves and our quest for an immortality that transcends the physical body.
The Hippocratic Corpus comprises some sixty medical works of varying length, style and content. Collectively, this is the largest surviving body of early Greek prose. As such, it is an invaluable resource for scholars and students not only of ancient medicine but also of Greek life in general.
Hippocrates lived in the age of Socrates and most of the treatises seem to originate in the classical period. There is, however, no consensus on Hippocratic attribution. The 'Hippocratic' Corpus examines the works individually under the broad headings:
- content - each work is summarised for the reader
- comment - the substance and style of each work is discussed
- context is provided not just in relation to the corpus as a whole but also to the work's wider relevance.
Whereas the scholar or student approaching, say, Euripides or Herodotus has a wealth of books available to provide introduction and orientation, no such study has existed for the Hippocratic Corpus. As The 'Hippocratic' Corpus has a substantial introduction, and as each work is summarised for the reader, it facilitates use and exploration of an important body of evidence by all interested in Greek medicine and society.
Elizabeth Craik is Honorary Professor at University of St Andrews and Visiting Professor at University of Newcastle, UK.
As urban life and women's roles changed in the 19th century, so did attitudes towards physical health and womanhood. In this case study of health reform in Boston between 1830 and 1900, Martha H. Verbrugge examines three institutions that popularized physiology and exercise among middle-class women: The Ladies' Physiological Institute, Wellesley College, and the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics. Against the backdrop of a national debate about female duties and well-being, this book follows middle-class women as they learned about health and explored the relationship between fitness and femininity. Combining medical and social history, Verbrugge looks at the ordinary women who participated in health reform and analyzes the conflicting messages--both feminist and conservative--projected by the concept of "able-bodied womanhood."
In industrialized countries, HIV/AIDS is now increasingly perceived as a chronic condition. Yet initially, before combination therapy became available, this pandemic was widely associated with premature or even imminent death. Receiving the diagnosis typically led to a dramatic biographical disruption.
This highly original book turns this basic feature of life with HIV into the vantage point for a fascinating analysis of Western subjectivity. Combining a host of empirical observations with the debate on the modern self, the author argues that the self-construction of people with HIV highlights the precarious yet indispensable status of the self in contemporary Western society. Constructing one's biography in terms of self-actualization is in fact a manifestation of nihilism: it evokes a standard of certainty which, on closer examination, cannot be sustained.
Written in a lucid style, this unique book will appeal to scholars and students in the fields of sociology, social psychology, social anthropology, social theory and philosophy, as well as anybody interested in the relationship between the self and society or the experience of living with HIV/AIDS.