The American Way of Birth Author:Jessica Mitford Three decades ago, Jessica Mitford became a household name with the publication of her long-running bestseller The American Way of Death. Now, in the climactic work of her career, she has found a subject at the other end of the spectrum of human experience. In an era of worry and outrage over health care, this challenging book takes a long look ... more »at how Americans are born.
Mitford provides a history of American childbirth from the nineteenth century to the present, exploring conventional and alternative methods, public health-care programs, high-tech births, and more.« less
This is not a book about the miracle of life. It is about the role of money and politics in a lucrative industry; a saga of champagne birthing suites for the rich and desperate measures for the poor. It is a drama in which midwives are raided at gunpoint to safeguard a lucrative medical monopoly; and in which caesareans are urged to excess so that doctors are protected in case of malpratice suits.
In 1962, Jessica Mitford shocked the nation with The American Way of Death, her best-selling investigation of shady practices in the funeral business. Now she turns her penetrating gaze to the opposite extreme of human experience.
Mitford examines conventional and alternative birth methods, public-health programs, the costs of having a child, and much more. Her inescapable conclusion - that the American way of birth is more a product of greed and political expediency than of concern for mothers and babies - will revolutionize the way we think about a universal rite of passage.