Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Glass Mountain Pamphlets)

by Barbara Ehrenreich

Paperback, 1993



Call number

R692 .E35


The Feminist Press at CUNY (1993), Edition: New Edition, 48 pages


As we watch another agonizing attempt to shift the future of healthcare in the United States, we are reminded of the longevity of this crisis, and how firmly entrenched we are in a system that doesn't work. Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, first published by the Feminist Press in 1973, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic roots in witch hunters. In this new edition, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English have written an entirely new chapter that delves into the current fascination with and controversies about witches, exposing our fears and fantasies. They build on their classic expos√© on the demonization of women healers and the political and economic monopolization ofmedicine. This quick history brings us up-to-date, exploring today's changing attitudes toward childbirth, alternative medicine, and modern-day witches.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member quantumbutterfly
If you're going to read this book, do yourself a favor and get the second edition. The introduction to this edition does a wonderful job of putting the book in context, as well as admitting where the authors were proven to be wrong with history... as well as right.

We take the subject of women's health for granted now. Not too long ago, however, it was a completely taboo subject. And women were perceived to be incapable of understanding and actively contributing to their own health. Where now breast cancer options are part and parcel of treatment, at the time of this book it was normal for a woman to go under for a biopsy and wake with a mastectomy. Ehrenreich and English chronicle some of the history of Western health care, both from the standpoint of what women received as well as what people received depending on social class. Medicine is not merely a matter of making a person well. It's tied in with power, money, social structures, and encouraging the status quo.

Because of this book, many women took an active interest in their health and actually learning about their bodies. A worthwhile read on a lot of fronts.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Stevil2001
The co-writers trace the history of the roles of woman from the distant past to the present. There are times they come across as a little too polemical, but overall it's an interesting and engaging history: as a scholar of the nineteenth century, I found the discussion of the emergence of nursing the most interesting part.
LibraryThing member deckla
Profoundly informative. Published in the same year as [Our Bodies, Ourselves], this is a pungent critique of the treatment of women in the medical system, resulting from when the experience and training of midwives and other women healers was discredited with the formation of the male medical establishment.


Original language


Original publication date



0912670134 / 9780912670133
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