Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History

Living in the Shadow of Death Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History Tuberculosis once the cause of as many as one in five deaths in the U S crossed all boundaries of class and gender but the methods of treatment for men and women differed radically While men were enc

  • Title: Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History
  • Author: Sheila M. Rothman
  • ISBN: 9780801851865
  • Page: 273
  • Format: Paperback
  • Tuberculosis once the cause of as many as one in five deaths in the U.S crossed all boundaries of class and gender, but the methods of treatment for men and women differed radically While men were encouraged to go out to sea or to the open country, women were expected to stay at home, surrounded by family, to anticipate a lingering death Several women, however, chose raTuberculosis once the cause of as many as one in five deaths in the U.S crossed all boundaries of class and gender, but the methods of treatment for men and women differed radically While men were encouraged to go out to sea or to the open country, women were expected to stay at home, surrounded by family, to anticipate a lingering death Several women, however, chose rather to head for the drier climates of the West and build new lives on their own But with the discovery of the tubercle bacillus in 1882 and the establishment of sanatoriums, both men and women were relegated to lives of seclusion, sacrificing autonomy for the prospect of a cure.In Living in the Shadow of Death Sheila Rothman presents the story of tuberculosis from the perspective of those who suffered, and in doing so helps us to understand the human side of the disease and to cope with its resurgence The letters, diaries, and journals piece together what it was like to experience tuberculosis, and eloquently reveal the tenacity and resolve with which people faced it.

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      Published :2020-01-26T10:53:22+00:00

    1 thought on “Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History”

    1. Instead of focusing on medical practitioners and public health officials, Rothman chooses to focus on the patient as the center of disease in society. She argues that the patient is of equal importance as the doctor, and she offers her narrative as a supplement to the existing scholarship on the history of disease as seen through doctors, nurses, and policy makers. By looking at the patient, Rothman provides a “narrative of illness” that is intimate and personal (1). Her focus on the microco [...]

    2. This book is informative and at the same time supremely readable. A well organized history, it brings the reader's attention to several themes unrelated to its central topic. This look at tuberculosis allows us insight into ordinary Americans' anti-slavery efforts, the East Coast prejudice against the Irish immigrant, America's gender bias, and most poignant, how health panics can rob citizens of their liberty and even familial rights. The contrast presented between the treatment of tubercular i [...]

    3. The book largely shares experiences of those who lived with tuberculosis. It shows how social understanding can shape the treatment of people with a disease. The author is very good at labeling the limitations of her stories. The author acknowledges that most of the anecdotes come from a fairly specific demographic: white, educated, middle to upper class. This limitation does not hinder the book.

    4. TB has a fascinating social and scientific history. I read this as background for a book I'm writing based on my great-aunt's diaries and correspondence from an Asheville, North Carolina TB cottage.

    5. Compelling book that examines the experience of mainly middle-class, literate white people in the 19th and early 20th centuries with respect to tuberculosis. It's a useful read, definitely; she does not accept the stronger forms of the argument that disease as a social construct. Really, the book is focused on the patient experience with TB and offers a useful perspective.I only give it 4 stars b/c the epilogue--linking tuberculosis to the more recent example of HIV--is deeply strained. Rothman [...]

    6. An excellent book overall, but I have one issue with it. Rothman's study and others about tuberculosis lack depth on the topic of sanatoriums. I am surprised that her sources are diaries, memoirs, and letters, with no indication that she had any personal interaction with an ex-patient. In the early 1990s, there would still have been thousands of tuberculosis survivors available for her stated purpose of looking at this medical history from the perspective of the patient. She has instead perpetua [...]

    7. I read all of this book a few years ago. Recently I revisited it and discovered--again--that one of the women TB sufferers in the time before sanitoria (ums?) was the mother of Helen Hunt Jackson, who came down with it later in life and wrote "Ramona."

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