Shadows in the Valley: A Cultural History of Illness, Death, and Loss in New England, 1840-1916

Shadows in the Valley: A Cultural History of Illness, Death, and Loss in New England, 1840-1916

by Alan Swedlund


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781558497207
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date: 04/28/2010
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alan Swedlund is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Visit the author's website at:

What People are Saying About This

Lynn M. Morgan

Shadows in the Valley offers a sensitive, poignant look at suffering, disease, and death in the lives of early settlers in the Pioneer Valley, just as authorities were beginning to identify disease pathogens, improve water and food supplies, and prevent childhood epidemics.... It is both modest and sweeping in scope, because the stories are carefully woven into a social history of larger changes occurring in American medicine and society.

Merrill Singer

Sets a new standard for the growing body of literature on the ways disease has shaped the contours of our world. Seamlessly blending history and medical anthropology, Swedlund tells the riveting tale of sickness in an earlier time as a distinctly human process, filled to the brim with meanings and emotions, actions and uncertainties.... A must read for medical anthropologists, health historians, and all those with an abiding concern with comprehending the human condition.

Karen Halttunen

This richly textured study employs dozens of powerful case studies-as well as mortality statistics and mourning rituals, medical treatments and emerging public health practices-to illuminate 'how death informed life' for a range of New Englanders, including infants and the elderly, the Yankee elite and Irish immigrants, women in childbirth and men at war, over the long nineteenth century. Through his careful attention to both patients and pathogens as key characters in this story, anthropologist Alan Swedlund offers a creative model for a complex and humane history of medicine. (Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California)

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