Oxfam Bookshop Brigg
The 18th century witnessed a revolution in childbirth practies. By the last quarter of the century increasing numbers of births were being delivered by men - a dramatic shift from the women-only ritual that had been standard throughout Western history. This confident and authoritative work of path-breaking research explores and explains this remarkable transformation - a shift not just in medical practices but in gender relations. The author challenges both the view that technology lay behind this shift and the view expounded by some feminist scholars that men simply elbowed women out of midwifery practice. By tracing the actual development and transmission of the new midwifery skills through the period both arguments are shown to be too crude. More importantly the author explores the sociocultural dimensions of childbirth and demonstrates with great skill and subtlety how a situation was created where increasing numbers of women (and their husbands) could rationally take the view that the emergent man-midwife was, in fact, the better bet. It was not the desires of medical men but the choices of mothers that summoned man-midwifery into being. The book has black covers with gilt titles; there is a slight bump to the lower rear edge and some light foxing speckles to text block edges; clean and bright inside. The jacket is sound, with some light indentation marks and rubbing to the glossy surface and slight edge bumping. The book would be of interest to both students of midwifery and social historians.
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