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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
Praise for A Midwife's Tale — "A marvelous exposition of the diary of an ordinary woman who turns out to be quite extraordinary. The laconic record of her life, in Laurel Ulrich's exper hands, becomes a guide no only to early medicine and housekeeping, but to debt, religion, family relations, the labor system, marriage and courtship, court pract...  more »
ISBN: 289438
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 444
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2

3 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Alfred a. Knopf
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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reviewed A Midwife's Tale The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her diary 1785-1812 on + 1223 more book reviews
Ulrich expands upon and explains the diary entries made by Maine midwife Martha Ballard between 1785 and 1812. The underlying theme is the importance of trade among and by women, in support and in counterpoint to that of men, but the whole thing just gets very tedious very quickly. Did not finish.

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