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Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War
     

Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War

by Margaret Humphreys
 

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Black soldiers in the American Civil War were far more likely to die of disease than were white soldiers. In Intensely Human, historian Margaret Humphreys explores why this uneven mortality occurred and how it was interpreted at the time. In doing so, she uncovers the perspectives of mid-nineteenth-century physicians and others who were eager to implicate

Overview

Black soldiers in the American Civil War were far more likely to die of disease than were white soldiers. In Intensely Human, historian Margaret Humphreys explores why this uneven mortality occurred and how it was interpreted at the time. In doing so, she uncovers the perspectives of mid-nineteenth-century physicians and others who were eager to implicate the so-called innate inferiority of the black body.

In the archival collections of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Humphreys found evidence that the high death rate among black soldiers resulted from malnourishment, inadequate shelter and clothing, inferior medical attention, and assignments to hazardous environments.

While some observant physicians of the day attributed the black soldiers' high mortality rate to these circumstances, few medical professionals—on either side of the conflict—were prepared to challenge the "biological evidence" of white superiority. Humphreys shows how, despite sympathetic and responsible physicians' efforts to expose the truth, the stereotype of black biological inferiority prevailed during the war and after.

Editorial Reviews

Civil War News
Fills a void in the literature on the health of black soldiers in the war.

— James M. Schmidt

Health Affairs
Shows how a careful regard for both historical thought and the historical record can deepen our understanding of racial disparities in health and health care.

— Sarah B. Dine

The NYMAS Review
Intensely Human is a well written, valuable work.

— A. A. Nofi

Civil War Book Review
It is hard to imagine that any scholar today could research a topic on the Civil War that others have not address previously. Margaret Humphreys... has done just that...Humphrey's depth of knowledge in modern medical science informs this book at every turn, allowing a reader to understand the physiological implications of what she reveals.

— Sally G. mcMillen

American Historical Review
Its lucid, balanced interpretation makes it an excellent primer on tough issues of race, medical thought, and medical practice.

— Steven M. Stowe

JAMA
Well written, interesting, and informative. The narrative is honest and straightforward, and Intensely Human gives readers some insight into current health disparities.

— Lynn C. Smitherman, MD

Choice

[Humphreys] underscores the callousness, corruption, disrespect, incompetence, and neglect by government medical officials toward black soldiers.

on Point
Intensely Human is a meticulously researched and well-written book.

— LTC Roger D. Cunningham

Arkansas Historical Quarterly
Intensely Human fills a void in the emerging study of medical treatment for black soldiers.

— Rhonda M. Kohl

Journal of America's Military Past
A valuable examination of an important topic. The text merits reading by those interested in the Civil War, the medical history of the conflict, and in the military service of African Americans.

— Tom Phillips

Journal of African American History
A major strength of Intensely Human is Humphrey's careful attention to how the struggles of African American soldiers with disease and illness were contextual.

— Chad L. Williams

Nursing History Review
Provides a compelling insight.

— Teresa M. O'Neill, RNC, PhD

Journal of Social History
Mary Humphreys has written a thoroughly researched and intrinsically valuable study which is assured to enrich knowledge and understanding of the racialized nature of Civil War treatment.

— Cheryl Wells

Civil War News - James M. Schmidt

Fills a void in the literature on the health of black soldiers in the war.

Health Affairs - Sarah B. Dine

Shows how a careful regard for both historical thought and the historical record can deepen our understanding of racial disparities in health and health care.

The NYMAS Review - A. A. Nofi

Intensely Human is a well written, valuable work.

Civil War Book Review - Sally G. mcMillen

It is hard to imagine that any scholar today could research a topic on the Civil War that others have not address previously. Margaret Humphreys... has done just that...Humphrey's depth of knowledge in modern medical science informs this book at every turn, allowing a reader to understand the physiological implications of what she reveals.

American Historical Review - Steven M. Stowe

Its lucid, balanced interpretation makes it an excellent primer on tough issues of race, medical thought, and medical practice.

JAMA - Lynn C. Smitherman

Well written, interesting, and informative. The narrative is honest and straightforward, and Intensely Human gives readers some insight into current health disparities.

on Point - LTC Roger D. Cunningham

Intensely Human is a meticulously researched and well-written book.

Arkansas Historical Quarterly - Rhonda M. Kohl

Intensely Human fills a void in the emerging study of medical treatment for black soldiers.

Journal of America's Military Past - Tom Phillips

A valuable examination of an important topic. The text merits reading by those interested in the Civil War, the medical history of the conflict, and in the military service of African Americans.

Journal of African American History - Chad L. Williams

A major strength of Intensely Human is Humphrey's careful attention to how the struggles of African American soldiers with disease and illness were contextual.

Nursing History Review - Teresa M. O'Neill

Provides a compelling insight.

Journal of Social History - Cheryl Wells

Mary Humphreys has written a thoroughly researched and intrinsically valuable study which is assured to enrich knowledge and understanding of the racialized nature of Civil War treatment.

Civil War Book Review - Sally G. McMillen

It is hard to imagine that any scholar today could research a topic on the Civil War that others have not address previously. Margaret Humphreys... has done just that...Humphrey's depth of knowledge in modern medical science informs this book at every turn, allowing a reader to understand the physiological implications of what she reveals.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801886966
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Humphreys is the Josiah Charles Trent Professor in the History of Medicine, a professor of history, and an associate clinical professor of medicine at Duke University. She is the author of Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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