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book reviews175 era of Reconstruction, with additional chapters on the controversial issue of black nationalism, the varied worship styles of the black churches, and the evolving roles of the black preacher. A brief epilogue brings the story into the twentieth century, when younger, better educated, more urban, and more secure blacks increasingly questioned the cultural authority ofthe churches and especially the autocracy of the older ministers who owed their positions more to piety than learning. Much of the book, as the footnotes reveal, is a summary/synthesis of recent scholarship, with quotations from primary sources used to illustrate rather than develop interpretative points. The author has sacrificed originality of interpretation and attention to nuance for breadth ofcoverage; while he adds details to what is generally known, I think he seldom advances new arguments or says anything particularly fresh about the many topics discussed. I say this less as a criticism than as a description of the book. This is not a thesis book, but that might make it more valuable to many readers. Those readers would have been better served, however, had the book included a bibliography or an essay on sources, and a more complete index. Even so, and in spite ofthe absence of analytical zip, there is no better general history of how black churches in the South responded to the opportunities and problems of the post-Civil War era. John B. Boles Rice University Simon Baruch: Rebel in the Ranks ofMedicine, 1840-IÇ21. By Patricia Spain Ward. (Tuscaloosa: The University ofAlabama Press, 1994. Pp. 424. $49.95.) Simon Baruch, M.D., is a subject worthy of historical scrutiny as biographer Patricia Spain Ward has ably shown, having established himself as a national spokesman for spa therapy and free public baths in nineteenth- and earlytwentieth -century America. A Polish Jew who arrived in New York as a young man in 1855, he traveled to Camden, South Carolina, where he joined the family of a successful immigrant merchant. Once settled, he became interested in medicine, first through a preceptorship and then as a student at the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston. Inspired by the charge that medicine was an "art founded on conjecture and improved by murder" (13), he learned quickly to question the heroic regimens of his day and to replace them with the concepts of vis vedicatrix naturae, or healing power of nature, and the self-limiting nature of disease. During the Civil War, Baruch served as an assistant surgeon in the Confederate Army and, on two occasions, was imprisoned after remaining behind with those too seriously wounded to follow the retreating army. He also wrote an article showing the relatively high recovery rate of soldiers with bayonet wounds, thus debunking the fear of the bayonet to the more septic bullet wound. After the war, Baruch practiced briefly at the North-Western Dispensary in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City before returning to Camden, where I76CIVIL WAR HISTORY he struggled to build a practice amid the ruins of the South's Reconstruction economy. Ward deftly recounts Baruch's early research on hypodermic medication , his treatment by inhalation, his urging of "contract" medicine (opposed by the American Medical Association), and his enthusiasm for sounder pathologies resulting from modern chemistry, physiology, and microscopy. Unlike most allopathic physicians, he was not embarrassed to admit benefits found in medical heterodoxy—including hydrotherapy. An eclectic at heart, he looked for marks of progress in all systems. As chair of a newly appointed Board of Health in South Carolina, Baruch launched efforts to collect vital statistics, expand smallpox immunization, and institutionalize the benefits of sanitary medicine. Disappointed by internecine feuds among his colleagues and drawn by greater financial opportunity, more challenging intellectual stimulation, and broader fields in which to study and practice hydrotherapy, Baruch moved to New York City in 188 1. There he built a successful practice, wrote important articles on malaria and typhoid fever, challenged reigning ideas on puerperal antisepsis, campaigned for free public baths, and played a key role in the evolving concept of government's responsibility for health. Using his position as editor on five different medical journals in the 1890s, he was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 175-176
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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