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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 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.
Johns Hopkins University Press
This book contains no illustrations.
Dr Rothman has hit a home run. Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics with Baseball is not only a fine book to read, but a text which can also serve as an excellent resource book.
— Father Gabe Costa
[A] remarkable book... Elegantly composed... It is written, and splendidly so, out of compassion for victims, respect for their courage and hope that their stories will enlighten us about current afflictions. Suffering is the books' compelling theme: not the genius of scientists but the pain and tenacity of the sick... [Rothman's] book is invested with a modestly humane hope that the past can teach us something useful... At stake is our collective civility as much as our health.
[A] moving account of what is was like to live in the shadow of death.
A 1994 Notable Book of the Year
— W. F. Bynum
This is great reading, an illness narrative that dramatically illustrates how an exceptional, atypical life can inform historical knowledge.
[A] graceful and lucid history.
|Pt. I||The Invalid Experience: New England Men, 1810-60|
|1||The Dreaded Disease||13|
|2||Manhood and Invalidism||26|
|3||The Pursuit of Health||45|
|4||Body and Soul||57|
|Pt. II||The Female Invalid: The Narrative of Deborah Vinal Fiske, 1806-44|
|5||Coming of Age||77|
|7||Deborah and Her Doctors||105|
|Pt. III||Health Seekers in the West, 1840-90|
|9||Come West and Live||131|
|10||The Physician as Living Proof||148|
|11||The Western Narrative||161|
|Pt. IV||Becoming a Patient, 1882-1940|
|12||A Disease of the Masses||179|
|13||Confining for Cure||194|
|14||In the Shadow of the Sanatorium||211|
|15||The Sanatorium Narrative||226|