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The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935

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Discover how homeopathic practice developed alongside regular medicine

Explore the history of American homeopathy from its roots in the early nineteenth century, through its burgeoning acceptance, to its subsequent fall from favor. The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935 discusses the development of homeopathy’s unorthodox therapies, the reasons behind its widespread growth and popularity, and its development during medicine’s introspective age of doubt...

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Overview

Discover how homeopathic practice developed alongside regular medicine

Explore the history of American homeopathy from its roots in the early nineteenth century, through its burgeoning acceptance, to its subsequent fall from favor. The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935 discusses the development of homeopathy’s unorthodox therapies, the reasons behind its widespread growth and popularity, and its development during medicine’s introspective age of doubt and the emergence of scientific reductionism. Not only does the book explain homeopathy within the same social, scientific, and philosophic traditions that affected other schools of the healing art, but it also promotes a more integrative connection between homeopathy’s unconventional therapeutics and the rigors of scientific medicine.

The History of American Homeopathy examines the work of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy—the development of his and other practitioners’ theories, and the factors in the growth and later withering of acceptance. You’ll learn the reasons behind homeopathy’s wave of popularity in nineteenth-century America and the impact of regular medicine’s shift to rationalistic system-theories and laboratory science on homeopathy. Discover how homeopathy emerged from the system-theories of the late eighteenth century; the mounting ideological differences within this unorthodox health art; its destructive internal feuds; and the factors that led to the eventual turning over of homeopathies to regular medicine.

The History of American Homeopathy answers questions such as:

  • how did the state of medicine in the early nineteenth century facilitate the public acceptance of Hahnemann’s theories?
  • what were the relationships between regualr medicine and homeopathy?
  • what tensions surfaced between academic and domestic homeopathy?
  • how did homeopathic medical schools emerge, and what were their regional and philosophical distinctions?
  • what was the impact of scientific medicine on homeopathy?
  • what were the reasons for the growing division between the liberal wing of homeopathy and the more conservative Hahnemannians, and what effect did it have on the movement?
The History of American Homeopathy: The Academic Years, 1820-1935 is an informative, insightful exploration of homeopathy’s roots that is valuable for medical historians, history students, homeopaths, alternative medical organizations, holistic healing societies, homeopathic study groups, homeopathic seminars and courses, and anyone interested in homeopathy.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer:Philip W. Leon, PhD (The Citadel)
Description:A web search for "homeopathy" reveals over 1,700,000 hits dealing with the medical approach long thought relegated to the ash heap along with phrenology and patent medicine. John S. Haller Jr.'s book presents a thorough history of homeopathy and its struggle for recognition in America. He includes valuable discussions of homeopathy's origins in German Romanticism, its chief proponent, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) , its popularity with prominent Americans, and its surrender to allopathic medicine. He introduces the reader to the many homeopathic colleges and journals that briefly flourished in an effort to legitimize this alternative to what Haller calls "regular" medicine.
Purpose:Haller seeks "to build on the contributions of past and contemporary scholarship by studying the manner in which academic homeopathy developed during medicine's introspective age of doubt and the emergent period of scientific reductionism." Despite homeopathy's differences with the prevailing allopathic treatments, the movement was decidedly American in its spirit of individuality and inquiry — its willingness to attempt something new. Haller clearly explains Hahnemann's guiding principle of similia similibus curantur, or like cures like. Homeopathic doctors claimed that the "principle of similars" was the key to healing, whereas allopathic doctors subscribed to the ancient Galenic principle of contraria contrariis curantur, different cures different. In contrast to regular doctors who wanted to induce in patients evidence of dramatic reaction to medicine — vomiting,purging, bleeding, sweating — homeopaths were minimalists, using the smallest doses of medicine to overpower disease.
Audience:Haller is a professor of history at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, specializing in courses in American intellectual history and the history of medicine, and he is a past editor of Caduceus, A Journal for the Medical Humanities. He does not seek to convert readers to homeopathy, nor does he call for a return to this system. He treats his subject with respect but not endorsement. To his credit, he skillfully does not attempt to demonstrate the merits of one system over another, but he objectively draws the battle lines and depicts the sometimes bitter skirmishes between the two 19th century schools of medical thought. Medical professionals will profit from his extensive documentation and clear prose.
Features:Three important features emerge from the lengthy book. The first is the story of how homeopathy came to America, where it flourished (and did not) and why, who the important doctors were who championed the movement, and the nature of medical training at the various homeopathic colleges. The second, equally interesting, is the battle between the American Institute of Homeopathy and the American Medical Association and their allies at colleges, journals, and professional organizations. Allopaths were better organized, more firmly entrenched politically and socially, and had a larger arsenal at their disposal in the battle with the homeopaths, although ultimately advances in bacteriology and the new scientific breakthroughs of the germ theorists brought homeopathy to the point of surrender. The third feature is Haller's discussion of the famous Americans who received homeopathic treatment: Horace Greeley, Cyrus W. Field, Samuel F. B. Morse, Henry W. Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Henry Ward Beecher, Edwin Booth, and President Chester A. Arthur.
Assessment:Haller's book should be read by practitioners of medicine and pharmacology for its intrinsic value as a historical account of the forces that shaped their professions. The author is not quite ready to throw the last shovelful on the grave of homeopathy, acknowledging — and this is important to contemporary practitioners — that it is quietly alive among lay persons interested in holistic and herbal medicines, women's health advocacy, chiropractic, New Age and other alternatives to regular medicine. Medical professionals need to know that homeopathy still attracts many followers.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789026606
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Pages: 401
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

  • Foreword (Pascal James Imperato)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. The Sage of Cöthen
  • Organon and the Materia Medica Pura
  • Dynamization, or Less is More
  • Chronic Diseases
  • Paris
  • Summary
  • Chapter 2. The American Diaspora
  • Hans Burch Gram
  • New England States
  • Mid-Atlantic States
  • Southern States
  • Middle Western States
  • Western States and Territories
  • Summary
  • Chapter 3. The High Dilutionists
  • Matter of Definition
  • Early Interpreters
  • Sorting It Out
  • Chapter 4. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
  • Cholera
  • Yellow Fever
  • Testing the Claims
  • Summary
  • Chapter 5. The Passing of Knowledge
  • Pennsylvania’s Discordance
  • New York and New England Collegiality
  • Midwestern Pride
  • The South
  • The Far West
  • Summary
  • Chapter 6. Incivilities
  • American Institute of Homeopathy
  • American Medical Association
  • Uncivil Acts
  • More Uncivil Acts
  • Summary
  • Chapter 7. The Four Horsemen
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • John Forbes
  • Worthington Hooker
  • James Y. Simpson
  • Summary
  • Chapter 8. Diversions, Spirits, and Other Nonessentials
  • Domestic Medicine
  • Lay Doctors
  • Christianity and Swedenborgianism
  • Fads
  • Eclectic Sirens
  • Summary
  • Chapter 9. Biomedicine’s Triumph
  • Migration
  • The Divide
  • Fire in the Rear
  • The Dilemma
  • Summary
  • Appendix A. Homeopathic Journals
  • Appendix B. American Homeopathic Colleges
  • Notes
  • Index
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