- Book Notes
François Guérard. Histoire de la santé au Québec. Collection Boréal Express. Montreal: Boréal, 1996. 124 pp. Ill. $Can. 11.95 (paperbound).
This pocket-size book takes the reader through the state of public health in Quebec from the seventeenth century to the present. In a brief introduction, the author sets out his three principal themes: the evolution of health conditions in the general population; the transformation of sanitary services; and the role of the main groups providing, or influencing the providers of, these services. This is a story specific to Quebec, rather than a general story of which Quebec is but one example. For this reason, Guérard does not emphasize the role of medical research and discovery, which are a “universal given” (p. 10), but instead concentrates on the socioeconomic context of Quebec’s public health interventions and those who carry them out. The seven chapters are entitled “La santé aux XVII e et XVIII e siècles”; “1800–1885: Une première réorganisation”; “1886–1918: Genèse d’un système de santé publique”; “1919–1939: Développement de la médecine préventive”; “1940–1960: La médecine hospitalière devient dominante”; “1961–1980: L’ère des réformes”; and “1981 à aujourd’hui: Les remises en question.”
Andrea Tone, ed. Controlling Reproduction: An American History. Worlds of Women, no. 2. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 1997. xxii + 243 pp. $45.00 (cloth), $16.95 (paperbound).
Each of the book’s seven sections contains both primary and secondary sources: essays are followed by documents, which include portions of court proceedings, articles in medical journals, and popular writings. The sections and authors of the essays are as follows: Section 1, “Birth Control and Abortion in Early America”: Cornelia Hughes Dayton, “‘Taking the Trade’: Abortion and Gender Relations in an Eighteenth-Century New England Village.” Section 2, “The Medicalization of Reproduction”: Judith Walzer Leavitt, “‘Science’ Enters the Birthing Room: Obstetrics in America since the Eighteenth Century.” Section 3, “Fertility Control in Nineteenth-Century America”: Daniel Scott Smith, “Family Limitation, Sexual Control, and Domestic Feminism in Victorian America.” Section 4, “Regulating Reproduction”: Leslie J. Reagan, “‘About to Meet Her Maker’: The State’s Investigation of Abortion in Chicago, 1867–1940.” Section 5, “Birth Control Revolution: Reproductive Freedom or Social Control?”: Linda Gordon, “The Struggle for Reproductive Freedom.” Section 6, “Reproductive Rights”: Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, “The Role of Popular Organizing: Feminists and Libertarians.” Section 7, “The Political Economy of Birth Control”: Andrea Tone, “Contraceptive Consumers: Gender and the Political Economy of Birth Control in the 1930s.” Lists of suggested readings and suggested films conclude the book. [End Page 548]
Stanley B. Burns. A Morning’s Work: Medical Photographs from The Burns Archive and Collection, 1843–1939. Santa Fe, N.M.: Twin Palms, 1998. 164 pp. Ill. $60.00.
The title of this beautifully produced book comes from the caption that Civil War surgeon Reed Brockway Bontecou gave to his photograph of an assemblage of amputated legs and feet. The grisly irony of the title sets the tone for the volume, which depicts horrifying mutilations in gorgeous detail. “I present these photographs of our not-so-distant past as dramatic evidence of how our forebearers [ sic ] lived, how they coped with disease, and often death, as a daily reality even as they hoped for better health,” writes the author in his introduction. Indeed, the subjects, who are usually unidentified, are strikingly impassive before the camera. Although many of the photographers are also “unknown,” a few notables pop up here and there—among them, Eadweard Muybridge, whose series entitled “Boy with No Legs Jumping off a Chair” extends his well-known interest in bodies in motion. The images span the world, with photographs of malnourished German children; of female genital mutilation in East Africa; of a Chilkat shaman in Juneau, Alaska; of a boy with myositis ossificans in New York City. Patients, physicians, and researchers are all depicted, and a discussion accompanies each photograph.
Marvin Lieberman and Leon J. Warshaw. The New York Academy of Medicine, 1947–1997: Enhancing the Health of the Public. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger, 1998. xi + 415 pp. $69.50.
“The uses of history...