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A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812
A Midwife's Tale The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary 1785-1812
Author: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
"This is much more than a 'midwife's tale.' It is a rich re-creation and interpretation of a family, a community, indeed an era. At every point Ulrich connects the fascinating story of Martha Ballard to larger istorical themes, drawing her readers into the social web of everyday life. In the process, she completely transforms our picture of medi...  more »
ISBN: 221615
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 444
Rating:
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Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 on + 125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I couldn't put this book down. The actual diary of a Maine midwife from 1785-1812, full of daily hardships, chronicles of her times and observations. She fords streams, falls off of horses, walks through snow -- delivering 816 babies in 27 years, with a mortality rate lower than many of the physicians in the area. Meticulously researched by a historian who won the Pulitzer Prize. You view an early American village full of real people - good, bad, a serial killer who wipes out his own family, a rapist who gets away with his crime, due to his position, family squabbles. Wow. What a woman Martha Ballard was. If you love history, genealogy, and strong females, this book is for you. I loved it. Can you tell?
reviewed A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 on
Helpful Score: 6
This book includes the actual diary entries of a midwife in late 1700's, including daily life, family life, how they paid their bills and what happens when they didn't. Laurel Ulrich, the author, provides a historian's perspective on these entries. The historian explains what is happening in this geography and society so you have perspective on the diary entries. The only book I have read over and over.
reviewed A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 on + 264 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is a wonderful book...especially for people who do genealogy and/or love history. Well written and insightful! It's on my keeper shelf!
reviewed A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this book. I may just order another one, as I loaned out my copy and never got it back.
My family was Maine, so I was especially interested in the lives of the early settlers there.
Martha's skill, her compassion, her pragmatism, her amazing work ethic was truly inspiring. On the other side of my family, my great-grandmother was a famous midwife in a small Idaho town, during the 1800's, so it was very special to read the real diary entries of this incredible woman.
The explanations and context by the author were perfect in helping us understand what was going on, while still letting Martha's own words speak for themselves.
reviewed A Midwife's Tale : The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's book is a testament to how much can be gained by taking the time to look at women's history, often less well-preserved and overlooked. Basing her analysis on the spare writings of the diary of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Maine around the time of the American Revolution, Ulrich constructs a fascinating picture of the interdependency of early American households and communities, and the changes brought to women's lives from the American Revolution and the burgeoning field of medicine. Useful for both historians and laymen alike, both my mother and grandmother (not to mention me!) have loved it!
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