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Witches, Midwives & Nurses

A History of Women Healers

Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English

Publication Year: 2010

Witches, Midwives & Nurses describes the corruption of the medical establishment and its role in demonizing women healers. With insight and originality, Ehrenreich and English relate witch hunts in the Middle Ages to the decline of midwives, and document the emergence of the Popular Health Movement and the current state of medicine in relation to women's rights. 

Published by: The Feminist Press

Series: Contemporary Classics

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Introduction to the Second Edition: The Backstory

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pp. 7-24

Witches, Midwives & Nurses (WMN) is a document from the second wave of feminism in the United States. Rereading it forty years later, we find it startling in its assertiveness and sweep and, for the most part, surprisingly accurate, given the paucity of materials we originally had to work with. At the same...

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Introduction to the First Edition

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pp. 25-30

Women have always been healers. They were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists of Western history. They were abortionists, nurses, and counselors. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging secrets of their uses. They were midwives, travelling from home to home and village to...

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Witchcraft and Medicine in the Middle Ages

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pp. 31-60

Witches lived and were burned long before the development of modern medical technology. The great majority of them were lay healers serving the peasant population, and their suppression marks one of the opening struggles in the history of man’s suppression of women...

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Women and the Rise of the American Medical Profession

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pp. 61-98

In the US the male takeover of healing roles started later than in England or France, but ultimately went much further. There is probably no industrialized country with a lower percentage of women doctors than the US today: England has 24 percent; Russia has 75 percent; the US has only 7 percent. And while...

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pp. 99-103

We have not been passive bystanders in the history of medicine. The present system was born in and shaped by the competition between male and female healers. The medical profession in particular is not just another institution which happens to discriminate against us: it is a fortress designed and erected to exclude us. This means to us that...


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pp. 105-108

E-ISBN-13: 9781558616905
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558616615

Page Count: 112
Illustrations: 27 B&W photographs
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: Second Edition
Series Title: Contemporary Classics
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OCLC Number: 665196311
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Witches, Midwives & Nurses