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The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land
     

The Health of the Country: How American Settlers Understood Themselves and Their Land

by Conevery Valencius
 

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ISBN-10: 0465089879

ISBN-13: 9780465089871

Pub. Date: 08/04/2004

Publisher: Basic Books


In this vivid history of American western expansion, Conevery Bolton Valencius captures the excitement, romanticism, and confusion of the frontier experience as well as another, less renowned reality of settling: how terrifying the untamed wilderness of the West was to its homesteaders. In a time when good health was thought to involve perfectly balanced

Overview


In this vivid history of American western expansion, Conevery Bolton Valencius captures the excitement, romanticism, and confusion of the frontier experience as well as another, less renowned reality of settling: how terrifying the untamed wilderness of the West was to its homesteaders. In a time when good health was thought to involve perfectly balanced humors, settlers thought that the wild extremes of the borderlands disrupted the delicate equilibrium of their bodies. Valencius is the first historian to show that the settlers' primary criterion for uncharted land was its perceived health or sickliness. This is a beautifully written, fresh account of the gritty details of American expansion, animated by the voices of the settlers themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465089871
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
08/04/2004
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
521,765
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 4.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Healthy Country"1
"Is it thriving & healthy?"
Sources
Making American Territory
Chapter I."New Country"15
"Wild" Land and "New"
Acclimation
The Literature of Settlement
"Movers" and "Improvers"
Early Arkansas and Missouri
Native Peoples
Emigration Stories, Black and White
Chapter II.Body53
Medicine and the Demands of Health
Force and Flow
Blood
Intake and Outgo
"Risings" and Release
Derangement and Proper Management
Change
Chills and Fevers
Chapter III.Places85
"Place"
Telling the "Health of the Country"
Indoors and Out
Climate and Constitution
Movement
Chapter IV.Airs109
Reading the Air
Miasma
Smell
Counteraction
Disgust
Expertise and Common Knowledge
Change and the Perils of Human Action
Blurred Boundaries
Chapter V.Waters133
Conduit
Blessing
Threat
Flood
Swamp
Sloughs of the Spirit
Wondrous Waters: Healing Springs
Chapter VI.Local Knowledge: Medical Geography and the Intellectual Hinterland159
"On the Medical Topography of Saint Charles County, Mo."
Science of the Local
The Politics of Local Knowledge
Professional Anxieties of the Periphery
Regional Boosterism and Southern Medicine
The Uses of History
Models for Hinterland Practice
Chapter VII.Cultivation191
Agriculture as Material and Moral Imperative
Farm Work
Cultivation and Sense of Self
Fertility and Generation
Changes Wrought by Cultivation
Crisis
Chapter VIII.Racial Anxiety229
Peoples and Places
Environmental Belonging
Vulnerability of the Racial Self
Blurred Boundaries
Proper Place: Free Black Identity
Mixedness and the Problem of Color
The Failure of Order
Chapter IX.Conclusion259
Afterword265
Archival Information and Abbreviations271
Notes275
Bibliography339
Permissions373
Index375

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